IRL & HRL Violations - July 2018

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

San’a Governorate

On July 1, one civilian was reported killed by Houthis in the Suad Hanash district of San’a city, for unknown reasons. This violates Rule 1 of Customary IHL, which requires parties distinguish between civilians and combatants.

On July 2, a Watan News report claimed that Houthi militias restrict civilians’ movement to and from San’a, and that several civilians have been subject to arbitrary arrest and extorted for ransom money while passing through Abu Hashim check-point. This violates Rule 99 of Customary IHL, which prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

Shabwah Governorate

On July 1, one civilian was killed as a result of an exploding landmine that was said to have been planted by Houthis in Shabwah. Indiscriminate attacks and failure to prevent against the effects of attacks are violations of Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6. This is also in violation of Customary IHL Rule 81, which describes restrictions for the use of landmines. Houthi militias have reportedly laid thousands of mines in civilian areas.

Ta’iz Governorate

On July 1, the Houthi militia reportedly shelled residential areas near the governorate offices in the east side of Ta’iz city, killing two people, including a child, and injuring four others, including three children.  Indiscriminate attacks and failure to prevent against the effects of attacks are violations of Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6.

On July 2, Houthi militias have reportedly abducted 12 civilians from their homes in al-Athawer Hifan village in Ta’iz. If found to be true, this violates Customary IHL Rules 98 and 99, which prohibit enforced disappearance and the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, respectively.

On July 2, it was reported that the Houthis were responsible for the shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ta’iz that killed 2 civilians, including a child, and left 3 others injured.  This violates Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6.

On July 18, a shell struck a market in Ta’iz city, resulting in the death of at least three civilians and injuring nine others. It is believed the Houthis were responsible for the shelling.  Indiscriminate attacks and failure to prevent against the effects of attacks are violations of Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6.

On July 18, seven civilians were killed in Durayhimi, south of Hudaydah City, by mortar rounds fired by the Houthis, according to local sources. Indiscriminate attacks and failure to prevent against the effects of attacks are violations of Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6.

SAUDI-LED COALITION

Assault on Hudaydah

On the weekend of July 26, 27, and 28, a coalition airstrike hit and damaged a sanitation facility and a water station, which supplies most of the water to the city of Hudaydah. Following the attack, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Yemen said that Hudaydah could be “one airstrike away from an unstoppable epidemic.” Cholera is present in the city and governorate, and damaging water treatment facilities endangers the health of the entire population. This violates Chapter 6, Rule 22, which states that parties must take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population against the effects of attacks, as well as Rule 18, which requires that parties assess the effects of attacks on civilian populations.

Sa’dah Governorate

On July 3, Houthi-run SABA news reported that the Saudi-led coalition had bombed a wedding party in the al-Dhaher district, killing 11 civilians, including women and children. If these allegations are true, the Saudi-led coalition would be responsible for violating Customary IHL Chapters 3 and 6.

MULTIPLE PARTIES

Countrywide

On July 1, both pro-government forces and Houthis were accused of enlisting children to fight in an Inside Story episode on Al Jazeera. This is in violation of Article 38 in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that states should refrain from recruiting any person under the age of fifteen years.

On July 26, Mwatana Organization for Human Rights released a documentary, “In Darkness,” which follows the stories of five civilians who were subjected to arbitrary arrest and forced disappearance. The Houthis and forces loyal to Hadi’s government were among the parties responsible for these arrests and disappearances. This violates Customary IHL Rule 98 and 99, which prohibit enforced disappearance and the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, respectively.

UNKNOWN PARTIES

Aden Governorate

On July 2, unknown security forces were said to have arrested Aden al-Ghad editor-in-chief Fathi Bin Lazraq. Eyewitnesses stated that the journalist was arrested after filming a traffic accident caused by a military vehicle. He was later released. This violates Rule 34 of Customary IHL, which states that journalists that do not take a direct role in the conflict are protected parties.  

Between July 12 and 19, two senior police officers were assassinated by unknown gunmen in separate attacks over the course of one week.

Southern Yemen

On July 12, Amnesty International released a report detailing enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and detention violations, including torture and sexual violence, by UAE-controlled security forces in southern Yemen. This violates Rule 90, which prohibits torture and cruel or inhuman treatment, as well as Rule 93 of Customary IHL, which forbids rape and other forms of sexual violence.