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Rights group calls for inquiry into Yemen war crimes allegations

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] (HRW) called Wednesday for an investigation into alleged war crimes [press release] committed during the recent conflict between the government of Yemen [BBC timeline] and Shiite Huthi Rebels. According to HRW's report [text, PDF], "All Quiet on the Northern Front?: Uninvestigated Laws of War Violations in Yemen's War with Huthi Rebels," the February truce between the factions has not resulted in any meaningful inquiry into air strikes on populated villages, indiscriminate violence, summary executions, and child soldiers, among other alleged violations:

The elements of this shaky truce - the sixth in almost as many years - do not include investigations into alleged violations of the laws of war. ... The continuing failure of both the Yemeni government and the Huthi rebels to investigate alleged violations by their forces prevents perpetrators from being held to account, denies compensation to victims of abuses, and complicates efforts to reach a long-term political settlement.

HRW also accused the UN of failing to provide an organization tasked with monitoring the crisis and the possible human rights abuses. HRW is petitioning concerned governments to encourage Yemen to increase access and transparency in order to hold perpetrators liable for crimes.

The Yemeni war against them Shiite Huthi Rebels, termed the Sa'dah insurgency, began in June 2004 with the uprising lead by Zaidi religious leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi against the Yemeni government. That time period was marked with five distinct phases or cycles of violence. Yemen has alleged that the Huthi Rebels have continuously received support from Iran and other sympathetic governments. The lack of transparency and the remoteness of fighting make it difficult to ascertain causalities in which estimates range from the hundreds to the thousands.

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