Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] has called [press release] Tuesday for an independent investigation into possible war crimes surrounding the destruction of a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders [advocacy website] in Yemen. According to local sources, the Saudi-Arabia led coalition committed up to six consecutive airstrikes Monday on Haydan Hospital, located in the Haydan Directorate in Sa’da governorate of Northern Yemen. The hospital housed more than 20 people at the time, including three patients and various medical and staff members. Seven people were injured in the attack. AI urged a prompt investigation and called on the UK to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and other coalition members.
This airstrike comes on the heels of several attacks by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition condemned by human rights organizations. In August AI claimed that both Huthi militias and anti-Huthi armed groups have indiscriminately killed and wounded civilians with unlawful airstrikes [JURIST report] in civilian neighborhoods. AI contends that all parties to the conflict have also engaged in ground crossfire in civilian areas, and believes that these attacks may amount to war crimes, calling for an independent UN commission to investigate. In May Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] publicized the Saudi-Arabia led coalition’s use of cluster bombs in additional Yemeni airstrikes and the forced evacuation of Northern Yemen residents [JURIST reports]. The UN also reported that the intense fighting in Yemen has claimed the lives of 551 civilians [JURIST report], including 115 children. In April HRW condemned both the targeting of an additional hospital [JURIST report] by the two factions and the destruction [HRW press release] of an international aid organization’s warehouse [JURIST report]. Also in April the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urged Yemeni combatants to report attacks resulting in civilian casualties [JURIST report] so that they can be investigated and international human rights law can be upheld. As early as March HRW expressed concern [press release] over the number of civilian deaths resulting from the Saudi-Arabia led bombing [JURIST report] of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.