UN rights council renews Yemen war crimes probe

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to extend an international probe of alleged war crimes committed in Yemen despite strong opposition from Saudi Arabia and several of its allies.

Nations voted 21 to 8, with 18 abstentions, in favour of a resolution that renewed the UN-backed investigation for a year.

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Last month, investigators detailed evidence of possible war crimes committed in Yemen by both the Saudi-led coalition and the Huthi rebels supported by Iran.

The coalition and the Yemeni government, which together are battling the Huthis, strongly criticised the probe’s initial report, arguing that it underplayed rebel violations and Iran’s role.

The Arab group in the rights council had backed a rival text that called on Yemen’s national human rights commission to take charge of future investigations of the conflict.

That proposal was a non-starter for many states, given a widespread lack of confidence in the Yemeni commission.

The approved resolution led by a group of European states and Canada calls on investigators to deliver another report next September.

In what may have been a consolation to the Arab group, the council passed a second Yemen resolution calling for support to the national commission, but its impact is largely meaningless with the international probe continuing its work.

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