Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties called on the international community to open a comprehensive and impartial investigation into the strikes that targeted the army's sites and areas of the internationally recognized legitimate government in Yemen. “SAM” stressed that the continuation of these violations without prosecution will contribute to prolonging the war, as well as causing hundreds of casualties, either dead or wounded.
The organization said in a statement issued today, Monday, August 15, that it had monitored more than 67 air strikes targeting the army of the internationally recognized government in different areas. the last one was on August 11, 2022, which resulted in the killing and wounding of nearly 65 soldiers, according to multiple media sources. The organization recalled in its statement the raid carried out by the UAE aircraft on August 29, 2019 on the outskirts of the city of Aden, which resulted in killing and wounding nearly 300 soldiers and officers. “SAM” indicated that those strikes were distributed in several areas, including: Marib, Al-Jawf, Nihm, Sana'a, and sites and camps belonging to the Sixth, Fifth, Seventh and Third Military Districts and led to hundreds of deaths and injuries.
“SAM” reviewed in its statement several incidents attributed to the Arab coalition aircraft and the UAE army in targeting the army camps of the legitimate government. The organization documented, on 7 July 2015, the targeting of the 23rd Brigade Mika camp in the al-Abr desert with three airstrikes by the Arab Coalition as the first airstrike targeted the headquarters, the second targeted the training center of the Second Division, and the third targeted weapons stores. The operation led to the killing of more than seventy officers and soldiers, including Major General "Ahmed al-Abara", the commander of the camp, and wounding more than a hundred others.
Abdul Raqib Al-Abara, son of Major General Ahmed Al-Abara, who was accompanying his father, says, “In an unpredicted moment, the coalition raids attacked us, one raid after another, with only a few seconds between them. These raids were able to scatter the body parts and souls of more than a hundred soldiers, including my father and seven of my relatives who were gathering after having breakfast in the camp. The scene was horrific. Everyone was in a state of terror, searching among the rubble for their relatives or for the wounded who could be saved, but to no avail. The Saudi-Emirati coalition aircraft turned lives into corpses, turned corpses into pieces, and turned body parts into scattered pieces that were difficult to identify."
As one of the sons of the victims, Al-Abara, who is currently residing in Turkey, says, "I could barely recognize my father. I could not look at his completely burnt face, and beside his face which was scattered, other body parts of my relatives who were accompanying him were scattered too. It was the moment when I couldn't get a hold of myself. I could neither scream nor cry. I hid everything inside of me. I couldn’t speak normally for days. I still suffer from that shock to this very day and suffer from its effects psychologically. I still feel terrified of any loud sound. The memory of my father still visits me, and every day I believe that the issue of retribution for us and the souls of our martyrs will not be in vain. Justice must come... We will wait for it one day. Even if it is delayed, it will definitely come."
On May 14, 2015, the warplanes of the coalition targeted the army forces of the legitimate government in the Al-Hazm area in Al-Jawf, killing 17 soldiers.
The organization stated that it monitored on September 20, 2016, the targeting of the Yemeni neighbourhood of the legitimate government in the area (Al Matma), which led to the killing of 15 Yemeni soldiers. On January 17, 2017, the warplanes of the Arab coalition bombed the government army forces of the internationally recognized government in the Maimanat Serwah area, killing 55 soldiers and wounding 30 others.
On August 3, 2018, the warplanes of the Arab coalition targeted the Yemeni army of the legitimate government in the Midi area of Hajjah Governorate, which killed 12 soldiers and wounded 2 others. Two weeks later, on August 20, 2018, the coalition warplanes re-targeted the Fifth Military District of the government army of the legitimate government, and the bombing led to the killing of 13 soldiers and the wounding of dozens of soldiers.
On August 29, 2019, a plane belonging to the UAE targeted the army forces affiliated with the internationally recognized government, killing and wounding nearly 300 soldiers. The UAE admitted its bombing of the Yemeni army forces and justified this by counter-terrorism. The legitimate government condemned this incident, but it did not take any legal action, neither at the local level nor at the international one. On January 18, 2020, approximately 120 soldiers were killed in the Special Forces camp in Marib by a bombing carried out by an unknown party. Some parties accuse the UAE of targeting the camp, especially since the Houthi militia has denied responsibility for the crime. On the other hand, we have not heard about the formation of a government investigation committee into the incident, and no report has been issued regarding it until this moment.
On August 10, 2022, the Special Security Forces in Shabwah where bombed and more than 65 soldiers were killed. On August 11, the military points of the army of the internationally recognized legitimate government were bombed by drones believed to be affiliated with the UAE between the Al-Abr and Hadramawt regions.
“SAM” said that what raises both suspicion and concern is that there was no party that has claimed responsibility for some of these unidentified strikes whereas others have not been investigated by the Arab coalition. In addition, the victims have not been compensated and those responsible have not been held accountable, which is a matter of concern as such practices constitute a violation of the sovereignty of a UN member state, and amount to a crime of armed aggression under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
"SAM" stresses that the fact that the targets of these operations are military, does not mean that their right and the right of their families to justice and knowledge of the truth will be forfeited, in addition to compensating them directly and compensating their community justly for the effects of these air strikes which violated international law and targeted regular government forces and civilian and military sites belonging to the Republic of Yemen and loyal to the internationally recognized authority by Saudi and Emirates aircraft at a time when they are not engaged in a declared war against the legitimate authority, and the forces targeted by their strikes are considered their allies on a theoretical level.
The organization stressed that all the observed incidents constitute a serious violation of the rules of international law. They also constitute war crimes and extrajudicial killings, which requires international action in order to bring the violators who carried out these brutal practices to the international criminal justice for their violations.
SAM concluded its statement by calling on the Yemeni authorities to work courageously to uncover the circumstances of these crimes in cooperation with the international community, to grant the families of the victims the right to know the truth, to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable, to compensate those affected fairly, and to work to ensure that violators are brought to fair trials.