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Yemen: Armed Conflict

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL3707, tabled on 29 November 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government of how many reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law by actors in the conflict in the Yemen they are aware; how many credible allegations of such violations are currently being investigated; and what criteria are used to assess whether an allegation is credible.

Answered on

13 December 2017

As at 5 December 2017 the number of allegations of international humanitarian law (IHL) violations by the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen of which the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was aware was 318. Of these, 13 were duplicate allegations. This means that some incidents have been recorded by the MOD on more than one occasion, likely as a result of the sometimes incomplete nature of reporting by Non-Governmental Organisations and the media, upon which the MOD relies as important information sources for alleged IHL violations. The MOD does not track and assess allegations of IHL violations caused by other actors, notably the Houthis and their allies, in the Yemen conflict.

The MOD does not investigate allegations of IHL violations. The Saudi-led Coalition is best placed to do this, and does so through its Joint Incident Assessment Team. Neither the MOD nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reaches a conclusion as to whether or not an IHL violation has taken place in relation to each and every incident of potential concern that comes to its attention. This is not possible in conflicts to which the UK is not a party, as is the case in Yemen. We simply do not have access to all the information that would allow us to reach conclusions accurately. The MOD assessments are used to form an overall view on Saudi Arabia's approach and attitude to international humanitarian law.

The MOD is made aware of alleged IHL violations by monitoring media and NGO reporting, and by other parties bringing IHL allegations to its attention. All such allegations are subsequently assessed by the MOD.