Guernica37 Press Statement
Victims, Lawyers Call for ICC to Open War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity Investigation into Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen
- Call to investigate three specific and separate incidents of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during the six-year Saudi-led war - Call to assert jurisdiction over three ICC signatory states Jordan, Senegal, and Maldives - also members of Saudi-led Coalition responsible for these crimes - to hold them accountable. - Call to also investigate citizens of ICC signatory state Colombia - hired as mercenaries by US private military company contracted to the UAE - Legal team additionally considering other measures including Universal Jurisdiction Arrest Warrants; class action in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Aug. 30, 2021 -- Hundreds of victims of the war in Yemen represented by Guernica 37 Chambers in London have today submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court – calling on the new ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan QC to open an investigation into War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity committed during the six-year intnerational aemed conflict. Allegations include murder, imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts as Crimes against Humanity, and wilful killing, torture, wilfully causing great suffering, extensive destruction to property not justified by military means as War Crimes The submission contains abundant evidence provided by the testimony of survivors and their relatives as well as other documentary sources on the following events: - Attack against a school bus in August 2018, killing 34 and maiming dozens more in an attack an important number of the victims were children; - A double missile attack launched in October 2016 against the same funeral gathering which led to at least 110 deaths and over 600 life-changing injuries; - Torture and murder of civilians in Aden, southern Yemen by Colombian mercenaries under the command of a US private military company contracted to the United Arab Emirates. Since the Saudi-led war commenced in 2015, destroying a well-advanced UN-mediated peace and reconciliation process, it is estimated some quarter of a million have been killed and a further three million displaced. Speaking of the attack on behalf of victims of the school-bus attack, Almudena Bernabeu Co-Head of Guernica37 said: "At the time of the attack the Coalition claimed they would investigate and hold the perpetrators to account. Of course, they did no such thing. As the court of last resort, victims and families have no choice but to call on the International Criminal Court tto ensure these events are properly investigated and justice is done". In 2017 the ICC opened an investigation into crimes allegedly perpetrated by British military personnel in Iraq. While the investigation did not proceed to trial, it clearly established that the ICC has jurisdiciton to investigate and hold accountable citizens of countries that are members of the ICC for crimes committed in countries that are not. Although neither Yemen nor key protagonists Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are State Parties to the Rome Statue – the international treaty that establishes the jurisdiction of the ICC - other members of their war coalition, namely Jordan, Senegal, and The Maldives, are. Furthermore, by virte of the UNSC Resolution, the ICC has jurisdiciton over citizens of Sudan, another member of the Saudi-led Coalition. It may also be argued, following the Myanmar Principle, that where a crime is commenced in one state and is completed in a second, it is only required that one of those States is a member of the ICC. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the ICC has jurisdiction in this regard too. In addition, evidence clearly demonstrates that Colombian nationals, as well as nationals of Chile, El Salvador and Panama, were hired as mercenaries by a US private military company contracted to the United Arab Emirates means, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and Panama are State Parties to the ICC so its citizens should face prosecution. Speaking as the submission is made, Toby Cadman Co-Head of Guernica37 and lead counsel to the applicants added: "Three signatories to the Rome Statue – Jordan, Senegal, and The Maldives – were members of the Saudi-led coalition at the time of both the school bus and funeral attacks. Similarly, citizens of another ICC member Colombia were combatants in the war at the same time. The ICC can and must use its clear jurisdiction to investigate these undeniable and evidenced crimes". In addition to the submission before the ICC, counsel for the victims is considering other legal options to pursue political and military figures of ICC signatory states. These include the issuance of Universal Jurisdiction Arrest Warrants, and the launching of a civil actions in the United States of America, United Kingdom, and in other countries and jurisdictions worldwide. Commenting on these other legal avenues, Toby Cadman of Guernica37 added: "While our campaign begins at the International Criminal Court, we intend to fight our case using all and every legal avenue available. Those who perpetrate the worst crimes imagineable can and will be held accountable". SOURCE Guernica37 International Justice Chambers