Human Rights Watch said that members of the Saudi-led Arab coalition have sought to avoid international legal liability by refusing to provide information on their role in alleged unlawful airstrikes in Yemen, and they were unwillingness to conduct serious investigations into alleged violations of the laws of war was evident in its response to airstrikes on apartment buildings in Sana'a, the capital, on August 25 that killed or wounded more than two dozen civilians.
“No coalition member can claim clean hands in Yemen until all its members explain their role in scores of documented unlawful attacks,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It borders on the absurd for the coalition to claim its own investigations are credible when it refuses to release even basic information like which countries participated in an attack and whether anyone has been held accountable.”
Two family members of victims of the August 25 attack reported that coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Faj Attan, a densely populated neighborhood of the capital, killing at least 16 civilians and wounding 17.
After an international outcry, the coalition admitted carrying out the attack, but, as in previous apparently unlawful airstrikes, did not provide details on the coalition members joining the attack or the countries undertaking any investigation. she added
The coalition said that it carried out the attack, but asserted that the civilian casualties were the result of a technical error and that it had targeted a “legitimate military objective” – a command-and-control center that Houthi-Saleh forces built “with the sole purpose of using the surrounding areas as well as its civilians as shields to protect it.” The coalition spokesperson said it had referred the case to the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), the coalition’s investigative mechanism, which has, to date, largely absolved the coalition of wrongdoing. The coalition spokesperson did not provide any details regarding which countries’ forces may have participated in the attack. The International Committee of the Red Cross called the attack “outrageous,”and said there was no apparent military target in the area.