Friday, January 8, 2016

UN head warns Saudi use of cluster bombs in Yemen could be war crime

    Friday, January 08, 2016   No comments

The U.N. secretary-general expressed deep concern Friday at the “intensification” of airstrikes by the Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition in Yemen and warned that the reported use of cluster bombs in populated areas could amount to a war crime.

A statement from Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman came a day after the U.N. chief condemned Yemen’s expulsion of the U.N.’s human rights representative in the country. The U.N. human rights office said this week it received allegations that the Saudi-led forces used cluster bombs.

Ban has received “troubling reports” of the use of cluster munitions in attacks Wednesday on several locations in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

Dujarric said the secretary-general is particularly concerned about reports of “intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the Chamber of Commerce, a wedding hall and a center for the blind.”
“The use of cluster munitions in populated areas may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature,” Dujarric said, adding that international human rights law and international humanitarian law prohibit attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Yemen’s conflict pits the government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis allied with a former president and backed by Iran. The Houthis took over Sanaa in September 2014, and the Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes against the Houthis in March.


Ed Isr

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