SANA’A – A United Nations report has said that countries such as Australia that continue to arm and provide military support to the Saudi-led coalition that has starved civilians, bombed hospitals and blocked humanitarian aid as tactics of war, may be complicit in war crimes, according to British newspaper The Guardian.
The UN report names France, the UK and US, “among other states”, as potentially complicit in war crimes.
A UN panel of experts has published a list of 160 politicians and military officers who could face war crimes charges, including citizens of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Hadi administration.
The UN report will bring renewed focus on international arms sales to Saudi Arabia’s military, including sales made by Australia, regardless of whether or not these weapons actually have crossed the border into Yemen for use there.
The UN report raises concerns that Australia has sold weapons to suspected war criminals and continues to do so.
“Third states have a specific influence on the parties to the conflict in Yemen, by directly or indirectly supporting them, including by means of intelligence and logistic support,” the report said.
Humanitarian organisation Save the Children reacted by saying that the UN report should act as a “wake-up call” for Australia. The chief executive of Save the Children, Paul Ronalds, said Australia had been unable to guarantee that its arms exports were not finding their way into the Yemen conflict.
Conor Costello from Oxfam Australia said there was “a real and present risk that arms sold by Australia to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia could be being used in Yemen in ways that could breach the rules of war and prolong the conflict”.
She said there was a “lack of transparency and accountability” in Australia’s arms export system, and that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be suspended.
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