Saudis Investigate And Clear Themselves Of Wrongdoing In Yemen

Amid international calls for an independent inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen, the Kingdom set up a panel to investigate itself and found it has done nothing wrong.

The Joint Incidents Assessment Team said it had discovered ‘mistakes’ in only three of 15 incidents reviewed, and maintained the coalition had acted in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Last week the UN said it had verified 5,144 civilian deaths mainly from coalition bombardment on Yemen, and said and international investigation was urgently needed.

Human Rights Watch have also accused Saudi Arabia of war crimes last week, saying air strikes that hit family homes and a grocery store were carried out either deliberately or recklessly

Anti Media reports:

In the meantime, the Saudi government has set up its own panel to investigate potential war crimes and misconduct. Reuters reported on the Saudi panel’s findings, noting it concluded that “a series of deadly air strikes largely [was] justified, citing the presence of armed militiamen at the homes, schools and clinics that were targeted.”

Reuters continued:

The Joint Incidents Assessment Team said on Tuesday it had discovered mistakes in only three of 15 incidents it reviewed, and maintained the coalition had acted in accordance with international humanitarian law. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has long been running the coalition fighting in Yemen as the country’s defense minister, a title he still retains.”

The panel’s legal advisor, Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour, told journalists this week that, in one example, the Saudi coalition struck a water welling drill after mistaking it for a ballistic missile launcher.

However, the Saudis have been criticized for their longstanding pattern of targeting critical infrastructures such as agriculture, warehouses, and hospitals – in far more than just fifteen incidents. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) claimed in early 2016 that the Saudis had attacked hospitals in more than 100 incidents, ultimately scaring Yemenis away from seeking medical help. The coalition has also been implicated in the cholera epidemic that has infected over half a million people since April.

The United States and the United Kingdom are complicit in this targeting of Yemen, which the Saudis view as a proxy war against Iran as they attempt to reinstate a former ruler who was ousted by Houthi rebels, a group they are now fighting. There is minimal evidence that Iran is backing the Houthis.