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Yemen: UN approves plan to investigate war crimes

The United Nations has agreed to send a team of experts to Yemen to examine human rights violations committed during the country's ongoing war. More than 5,000 people have been killed since 2015.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution Friday to send a delegation of "eminent experts" to Yemen, despite initial resistance from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

The group will be tasked with carrying out "a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights" committed in the conflict and trying "to identify those responsible," the resolution said.

Read more: Yemen's war explained in 4 key points

The Netherlands and Canada had originally called for a formal UN inquiry commission, the UN's highest level investigation. But that request was removed in a bid to get Arab countries on board.

The amended, compromise version that was ultimately adopted instead allows for "eminent international and regional experts" to monitor and report on abuses.

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"A credible international investigation is necessary in order to comprehensively,  transparently, independently and impartially establish facts and circumstances surrounding violations with a view to put an end to the cycle of impunity in Yemen," the Dutch delegate told the forum on behalf of a core group of Western states.

Saudi Arabia, which has led a bombing campaign in Yemen since March 2015, has for the past two years succeeded in blocking calls from UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein for an international investigation.

More than 5,100 civilians have been killed and more than 8,700 injured in Yemen's war since the UN started monitoring casualties in March 2015, according to a UN report from September.

The conflict pits the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government against Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran. Both sides have beenaccused of major human rights violations.

nm/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

 

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