Dec 13, 2019 05:01 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Jan 21, 2020 06:31 Asia/Tehran]
  • ICC must probe EU firms linked to Saudi/UAE-led war crimes in Yemen: AI

Amnesty International has demanded the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate European arms company executives who are linked to the war crimes allegations committed by the coalition under a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their neighboring Yemen.

Iran Press/Middle East: "The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) must investigate the role of executives of European arms companies and licensing officials in violations of international humanitarian law that could amount to war crimes in Yemen," Amnesty International said on its website on Thursday.

Amnesty announced it joined the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in an official request to the ICC.

"The ECCHR, supported by five NGOs, has submitted a 300-page Communication and supporting evidence to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), calling on the ICC to investigate whether high-ranking officials, from both European companies and governments, could bear criminal responsibility for supplying arms used by members of the Saudi Arabia/UAE-led Coalition in potential war crimes in Yemen."

It has requested an investigation into their potential complicity in 26 specific airstrikes which unlawfully killed or injured civilians, and destroyed or damaged schools, hospitals, and other protected objects.

“An ICC investigation would be an historic step towards holding arms company executives accountable for their business decisions. The reality is that everybody involved in selling weapons to the Saudi Arabia/UAE-led Coalition bears some responsibility for how those weapons are used. This includes company executives as well as government officials,” said Patrick Wilcken, Arms Control Researcher at Amnesty International.

“The ICC Prosecutor can send a clear message that it will hold corporate actors to account if they are involved in the most serious crimes.”

Despite mountains of evidence of serious violations in Yemen built up over nearly five years of the conflict, some European states have continued to export to members of the Coalition, which has bombed schools, houses, and hospitals, AI's website read.

These exports are a flagrant violation of the international Arms Trade Treaty, as well as European and domestic laws, it added.

“Any company executive can read a newspaper and understand that the human rights risk assessments of some European governments have failed catastrophically,” Wilcken said.

“Company executives have had ample time and access to plenty of reliable information to reassess their decisions to supply the Coalition in light of the horrific events in Yemen. Hiding behind flawed government decision-making is not good enough - now they could face criminal charges before an international criminal court.”

AI announced that the Communication focuses on the role of the following companies: Airbus Defence and Space S.A.(Spain), Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany), BAE Systems Plc. (UK), Dassault Aviation S.A. (France), Leonardo S.p.A. (Italy), MBDA UK Ltd. (UK), MBDA France S.A.S. (France), Raytheon Systems Ltd. (UK), Rheinmetall AG (Germany) through its subsidiary RWM Italia S.p.A. (Italy), and Thales France.

Last week, Amnesty International called on world leaders to address Saudi Arabia's 'heinous' human rights record as the kingdom took over the presidency of the G20 global economic forum amid a new wave of arbitrary arrests and silencing of dissent.

"The organization urges G20 members, to pressure the Saudi Arabian authorities to commit to end the patterns of egregious human rights violations," it said in a statement.

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