Saudi-led coalition′s Yemen probes ′not credible,′ says HRW | News | DW | 24.08.2018
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Saudi-led coalition's Yemen probes 'not credible,' says HRW

A human rights group has identified discrepancies in the Saudi-led coalition's in-house investigations into alleged war crimes. It comes as at least 26 civilians in Yemen were killed in a missile strike.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen did not carry out credible investigations into its own alleged war crimes committed in the region and failed to compensate civilian victims, a report by international rights group Human Right Watch has claimed.

The report highlighted inconsistencies between the findings of the coalition's investigative body, the "Joint Incident Assessment Team" (JIAT), established in 2016, and those by HRW in relation to airstrikes.

Read more: Why are EU countries reluctant to intervene in Yemen's war?

HRW's Mideast director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said countries selling weapons to Saudi Arabia were not protected from "being complicit in serious violations in Yemen."

"The failure of the coalition's investigative body to carry out credible inquiries and take appropriate action reinforces the urgency for UN Human Rights Council members to renew and strengthen the UN inquiry into violations by all parties in Yemen," Whitson said.

Report highlights discrepancies

The report underlined one incident in September, 2016, in which the coalition attacked a water well, killing dozens of civilians.

The JIAT's investigations determined the incident was an "unintended mistake," while an HRW team documented about a dozen bomb craters in the area, the report said.

Another JIAT investigation into a 2015 coalition bomb attack on a residential complex in the port city of Mocha concluded the structure was "partly affected by unintentional bombing" without providing a tally of the civilians wounded, the report said. HRW, however, found that the attack killed 65 civilians after the complex was hit by several bombs.

Read more: In Yemen, 'nearly all children' at risk from war

Earlier this month, coalition airstrikes hit a bus in a busy market in Yemen's north, killing at least 51 people including tens of children. The coalition said it had ordered an investigation into the attack.

Following the attack, the UN Security Council called for a "credible" investigation.

Britain's Ambassador Karen Pierce, whose country holds the rotating Security Council presidency, said after a closed-door meeting on Yemen that "if any investigation that is held is not credible, the council will obviously want to review that" and decide "if more is necessary."

Missile attack kills dozens

At least 22 children and four women were killed by a Saudi-led coalition air strike while fleeing fighting in western Yemen, the UN aid chief said on Friday, condemning attacks on civilians.

The rebel-run Saba news agency said an air strike hit a bus and a home in the Al-Durayhimi district, south of the strategic port city of Hodeida, which is currently held by rebels. Huthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition blamed each other for the attack.

"This is the second time in two weeks that an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition has resulted in dozens of civilian casualties," said Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

On Thursday four other children died in a separate air strike in Hodeida, Lowcock said.

law/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)

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