ICC called on to investigate war crimes committed by UAE in Yemen
A human rights group has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate allegations of war crimes in Yemen by the United Arab Emirates.
The Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR- UK) accuses the UAE government, part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen, of "indiscriminate attacks against civilians", the group's lawyer Joseph Breham told AFP.
The London-based AOHR further charges that the UAE has used banned cluster bombs and hired mercenaries to carry out torture and executions.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will have to decide whether or not to open a preliminary probe.
"Our complaint targets acts perpetrated on Yemeni territory by the United Arab Emirates which does not recognise the ICC," said Paris-based Breham.
But he added: "The perpetrators of these crimes are mercenaries employed by the Emirates and coming from Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, South Africa or Australia -- countries that recognise the ICC."
It would therefore be possible for the court to launch an investigation, Breham said, accusing Emirati forces of "air strikes targeting civilian homes, hospitals and schools".
The UAE has played a key role in the Saudi-led campaign, which was launched in March 2015 to roll back gains by Huthi rebels, who had taken the capital Sanaa and other northern and central areas of one of the Arab world's poorest nations.
UN officials say Yemen could face the world's largest famine in decades unless the Saudi-led coalition's crippling blockade on ports and airports is lifted.
UN children's fund UNICEF warned Sunday that more than 11 million Yemeni children are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
The devastating war has since killed some 8,600 people, while a further 2,000 have died of cholera.