LONDON (Dispatches) – A British law firm has filed requests with the authorities in Britain, the United States and Turkey to arrest senior officials from the United Arab Emirates for carrying out war crimes and torture in Yemen.
The complaints were filed by law firm Stoke White under the ‘universal jurisdiction’ principle that countries are obliged to investigate war crimes wherever they may have been carried out.
The firm filed the complaints to Britain’s Metropolitan police and the U.S. and Turkish justice ministries on behalf of Abdullah Suliman Abdullah Daubalah, a journalist, and Salah Muslem Salem, whose brother was killed in Yemen.
Lawyers for the men said in the complaint that the UAE and its "mercenaries” were responsible for torture and war crimes against civilians in Yemen in 2015 and 2019. It named senior UAE political and military figures as suspects.
A spokeswoman for the UAE declined immediate comment, as did a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police. There was no immediate reply to emails sent to the U.S. Justice Department and the Turkish embassy in London.
"The case is filed against high ranking officials in the UAE government and ministry of defense, alongside the U.S. mercenaries who have acted under the direct orders of the UAE government,” said Hakan Camuz, head of international law at Stoke White.
"We believe we have compelling legal grounds for authorities in the UK, U.S. and Turkey to investigate and prosecute under the universal jurisdiction laws,” Camuz said.
He said his clients had fled Yemen for Turkey. Some of the suspects live in the UAE and often travel to Britain and the United States, and others live in the United States.
The UAE is a leading partner in a Saudi-led coalition that launched a war in Yemen in March 2015.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past nearly five years.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.