Saudi Coalition Violated Law With Yemen Funeral Strike: U.N. Monitors


By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

A Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen violated international humanitarian law with a so-called “double tap” air strike on a funeral gathering in the capital Sana’a, United Nations sanctions monitors told the Security Council.

The U.N. monitors said there were two air strikes in quick succession on the Oct. 8 funeral, which was attended by many top political and security figures from Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In an Oct. 17 report, seen by Reuters, the monitors said they found “in respect of the second air strike, that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition violated its obligations in respect of hors de combat and the wounded in this ‘double tap’ attack.”

Under international humanitarian law, attacks are prohibited against hors de combat – fighters incapable of defending themselves – the wounded, and medical personnel and units.

The Saudi Arabia mission to the United Nations was not immediately available to comment on the U.N. report. An investigative body set up by the coalition said on Saturday that the attack was based incorrect information.

The U.N. has said some 140 people were killed in the attack on the funeral and several hundred more were injured.

“The second air strike, which occurred three to eight minutes after the first air strike, almost certainly resulted in more casualties to the already wounded and the first responders,” the U.N. monitors said.

“These first responders included civilians who immediately entered the area after the first air strike to provide urgent first aid and undertake casualty evacuation,” the report said.

The monitors recommended that the Security Council consider asking members of the Saudi-led coalition to stop using “double tap” attacks. The coalition includes Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.

The U.N. monitors found that the Saudi-led coalition “did not take effective precautionary measures to minimize harm to civilians, including first responders, in the second strike.”

The U.N. sanctions monitors have previously accused the Saudi-led coalition of violating international humanitarian and human rights law.