Human rights lawyers representing hundreds of victims of Yemen’s civil war are calling on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition during the devastating conflict.
British lawyer Toby Cadman filed the request Monday, highlighting three separate incidents – an August 2018 airstrike that destroyed a school bus and killed dozens; a missile attack in October 2016 that killed at least 110 people; and allegations of torture and murder of civilians being held in prisons in the south of Yemen.
The filing came a day after a missile and drone attack, blamed on the Houthi rebels, on a key military base in Yemen’s south killed at least 30 troops.
The civil war in Yemen erupted in 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis swept across much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognized government into exile. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year on the side of the government. All sides are accused of atrocities in the yearslong conflict.
Lawyer Almudena Bernabeu, representing victims of the school bus attack, said that the coalition said it would investigate the deadly strike and bring those responsible to justice.
“Of course, they did no such thing,” Bernabeu said in a statement. “As the court of last resort, victims and families have no choice but to call on the International Criminal Court to ensure justice is done.”
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Yemen is not a member state of the court and nor are key coalition members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
However, in a 212-page written submission, the lawyers argue that the court should exercise jurisdiction because some members of the coalition are ICC member states.