Thursday, November 29, 2018

Justice for Yemen?

In 2015, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen. In the three years since, they've bombed hospitals, used banned cluster bombs and white phosphorus, and indiscriminately slaughtered civilians. The architect of the invasion is crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (yes, the man who ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed). He is currently visiting Argentina for a G20 meeting. And Argentina has just begun a war crimes investigation against him:

An Argentinian prosecutor has agreed to pursue a case against Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, over possible war crimes in Yemen, according to Human Rights Watch.

HRW petitioned Argentina's judiciary on Monday to use a clause in its constitution to prosecute Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, who arrived in the country to attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division, announced on Twitter that a prosecutor has agreed to take up the case, and asked a judge to request information from Yemeni and Saudi authorities regarding alleged war crimes, and had also asked Argentina's foreign ministry whether the crown prince's diplomatic status might allow a legal proceeding to go forward.

“The Argentine judiciary, by taking steps towards a formal investigation, is sending a clear message that even powerful officials like Mohammed bin Salman are not above the law and will be scrutinised if implicated in grave international crimes," Ms Whitson said in an emailed statement to The Independent.

But we need more than scrutiny - if the evidence is there, we need arrest and prosecution. And we need bin Salman to be facing that threat not just from Argentina, but the entire world.