Human Rights Watch calls for new impartial body to investigate war crimes committed in Yemen

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stressed that the United Nations should establish a new mechanism to investigate war crimes in Yemen, noting that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are trying hard to get impunity for their crimes.

According to HRW, last month the Netherlands ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had “failed the people of Yemen” by rejecting the renewal of an investigation into alleged human rights abuses and war crimes there.

“UN member countries have a chance to reverse that failure and create something better as the conflict in Yemen continues to rage,” he added.

Last week, the Netherlands delivered a joint statement on behalf of 37 countries to the UN General Assembly, voicing deep regret at the UNHRC’s failure to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GoEE), which since 2017 has been investigating alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Yemen.

The statement urged UN member countries to “use all opportunities within the UN-system to assess facts on the ground in an impartial manner, and work towards accountability.”

In response, some two dozen, mostly Arab, governments endorsed a Saudi-drafted statement welcoming the demise of the GoEE.

“The UNHRC could seek to create a new Yemen accountability mechanism at its next session in March. But why wait? The General Assembly could establish a standing independent and impartial investigative body that would not only report on alleged violations to UN member countries, but also gather and preserve evidence and prepare cases for possible future prosecutions,” HRW said in its message. “We owe it to the people of Yemen to try”.