JOHN MENADUE Why are Australian defence correspondents so quiet about complaints to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the use of Australian and Latin American mercenaries by UAE in the war against Yemen (Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK)

ANCILE Avocats French law firm filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the use of an army of mercenaries trained in the UAE and sent to participate in the ongoing war in Yemen.

The war in Yemen has torn the country apart since March 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has committed war crimes according to many international human rights sources (UN, HRW and Amnesty International): from bombing hospitals, to indiscriminate attacks and alleged mass torture.

In the period between March 2015 to August 30, 2017, civilian casualties were documented to be at least 5,144 persons killed and more than 8,749 injured. Of those killed and injured, 1,184 and 1,592 were children, respectively.

Information was acquired confirming that in May 2015 the UAE sent mercenary troops, with nationalities from Australia, South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Chile and Panama, to participate in the war.

There have been numerous calls to refer the case of Yemen and the horrific crimes committed there to the ICC, but there have been two obstacles: the refusal of the Security Council; and the fact that Yemen is not a member of the ICC, nor are any of the coalition countries involved in the war. However, the participation of mercenaries who belong to member states of the ICC, poses an obligation upon the ICC to open an investigation.

In this context, the lawyer Me Breham said: “UAE did not want to get its own hands dirty, so it employed foreigners to do its dirty work. This has opened a breach in the wall of impunity in Yemen. The ICC must seize this opportunity. We cannot look away this time.”

This complaint is an opportunity for the ICC to put an end to impunity for crimes committed in Yemen, as well as to do its part in stopping the war and save innocent lives which are constantly lost under the bombings and imposed siege.

Comment. Who were the Australians involved?  Are they still involved?  What was there role? What was their former rank in the ADF ?  Did they receive approval of the Australian Government?…John Menadue

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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