UN wants probe into Yemen war crimes

  • 11/10/2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says there must be accountability for the "appalling conduct" of the entire war in Yemen after an apparent Saudi-led air strike killed 140 Yemenis.

"Aerial attacks by the Saudi-led coalition have already caused immense carnage, and destroyed much of the country's medical facilities and other vital civilian infrastructure," Ban told reporters on Monday.

"More broadly, there must be accountability for the appalling conduct of this entire war."

On the same day the top UN human rights official renewed his call for an international probe into possible war crimes committed in Yemen, saying the bombing of a funeral showed that violations continued unpunished.

An air strike, widely blamed on Saudi warplanes, ripped through a wake attended by some of Yemen's top political and security officials on Saturday, killing 140 people.

Yemen's Houthi movement fired ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, and the United States said on Sunday a failed missile attack from Houthi-controlled areas targeted one of its warships.

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement that countries belonging to the UN Human Rights Council had contributed to "a climate of impunity" in Yemen by failing to investigate adequately.

The council last month declined to set up an independent inquiry into abuses in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Shi'ite Houthi fighters and forces loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Since the conflict flared up in March 2015, at least 4125 civilians have been killed and 7207 injured, the UN statement said, noting that casualties have risen since a cessation of hostilities collapsed in August.

In just the first 10 days of October, 369 civilians have been killed or injured, tripling the rate of September which recorded 379 casualties for the entire month, he said, adding that the latest incident could cause a further escalation.