[JURIST] Saudi Arabian led airstrikes on a funeral in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, were an “apparent war crime,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said on Thursday as it also called for [HRW report] a credible investigation. The airstrikes, which occurred on October 8 killed approximately 100 people attending the funeral and injured 500 more, including children. HRW said that the large presence of civilians mixed amongst some military personnel “strongly suggests that the attack was unlawfully disproportionate.” The initial report also provides a short description of the laws of war stating that “an attack is unlawfully disproportionate if it may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian structures that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the attack.”
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen has sparked significant international concern. Last month independent UN human rights expert Alfred de Zayas said [JURIST report] that “[a]rms deals are a major threat to security, peace and human rights.” Also last month international human rights groups issued a joint letter [JURIST report] to the permanent representatives of member and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council urging them “to support the High Commissioner’s call [JURIST report] for an international, independent investigation into civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen.” In July HRW urged [JURIST report] Saudi Arabia and other coalition members to create an independent international inquiry into their attacks on civilian economic structures in Yemen. In March two human rights groups called [JURIST report] for the US, the UK and France to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia due to accusations and evidence that the weapons are being used in attacks against Yemen.