Global Rights Compliance (‘GRC’) lodged their submissions on the use of starvation against civilians in Yemen with the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (‘GEE’), established on 29 September 2017 through Resolution A/HRC/RES/36/31 by the Human Rights Council.
GRC was invited to make submissions in relation to the alleged use of starvation in Yemen as a violation of IHL, international criminal law, international human rights law. Without prevention and accountability, the severe food security crisis in Yemen is likely to be the famine that will define this era. There is a reasonable basis to conclude that, as a result of the decisions and policies of the Houthi-Saleh forces as well as the Saudi-led Coalition and other armed groups, civilians in specific areas of Yemen are starving and/or are facing the threat of starvation.
What these submissions enunciate is that whilst every conflict presents unique challenges to evidence collection and accountability for international crimes, these are all too familiar to international investigations and prosecutions, and ICL jurisdictions have developed on the whole fair means to overcome them. It is only when existing or future legal mechanisms such as the GEE develop or create a better understanding of starvation, or more generally when starvation enters the legal zeitgeist in the way that sexual violence and gender based crimes (mercifully) now have, will prosecutions produce a more singular definition of the crime of starvation, and those acting with impunity in starving civilians to death, will be held to account.
Catriona Murdoch leads the Yemen Accountability Project and consults with GRC based in The Hague, Netherlands whilst representing Jovica Stanišič in the re-trial before the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.