In their application – filed by their legal counsel Guernica37 International Justice Chambers of London – evidence is submitted by survivors, their relatives, and families of the deceased murdered in three, well-documented and already international NGO-investigated and global reported events:
– Against a school bus in August 2018, killing 34 and maiming dozens more in an attack so devastating many families could not recover any recognisable body parts of the child victims;
– In a double missile attack launched in October 2016 against the same funeral gathering which led to at least 110 deaths and over 600 life-changing injuries;
– Torture and murder of civilians in Aden, southern Yemen by Colombian mercenaries under the command of a US private military company contracted to the United Arab Emirates.
Since the Saudi-led war commenced in 2015, destroying a well-advanced UN-mediated peace and reconciliation process, it is estimated some quarter of a million have been killed and a further three million displaced.
Speaking of the attack on behalf of victims of the school-bus attack, Almudena Bernabeu co-founder of Guernica37 said:
“At the time of the attack the Coalition claimed they would investigate and hold the perpetrators to account. Of course, they did no such thing.
“As the court of last resort, victims and families have no choice but to call on the International Criminal Court to ensure justice is done”.
In 2017 the ICC opened an investigation into crimes allegedly perpetrated by British military personnel in Iraq. While the investigation did not proceed to trial, it set a precedent that it is possible to investigate and hold accountable citizens of countries that are members of the ICC for crimes committed in countries that are not.
Although neither Yemen nor key protagonists Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are State Parties to the Rome Statue – the international treaty that establishes the jurisdiction of the ICC – other members of their war coalition, namely Jordan, Senegal, and The Maldives, are.
In addition, evidence submitted that Colombian nationals were hired as mercenaries by a US private military company contracted to the United Arab Emirates means, when Colombia is a State Party to the ICC, they too could be investigated.
Speaking as the submission is made, Toby Cadman co-founder of Guernica37 and lead counsel to the applicants added:
“Three signatories to the Rome Statue – Jordan, Senegal, and The Maldives – were members of the Saudi-led coalition at the time of both the school bus and funeral attacks.
“Similarly, citizens of another ICC member Colombia were combatants in the war at the same time.
“The ICC can and must use its clear jurisdiction to investigate these undeniable and evidenced crimes”.
In addition to the submission before the ICC, counsel for the victims is considering other legal options to pursue political and military figures of ICC signatory states. These include the issuance of Universal Jurisdiction Arrest Warrants, and the launching of a class action suit in the United States of America, United Kingdom, and in other countries and jurisdictions worldwide.
Commenting on these other legal avenues, Toby Cadman of Guernica37 added:
“While our campaign begins at the International Criminal Court, we intend to fight our case using all and every legal avenue available. Those who perpetrate the worst crimes can and will be held accountable”.