Yemen: UN Accuses Insurgents of Hindering Aid Access

A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
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Yemen: UN Accuses Insurgents of Hindering Aid Access

A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick has expressed his deep concern over the continuing obstruction to the timely provision of aid to people in need in Yemen.

He said that, for months, humanitarian partners have experienced delays by “authorities in Sana’a” to facilitate the entry of aid workers into Yemen; interference in the delivery of aid and the choice of implementing partners; and hijacking of aid vehicles.

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, quoted McGoldrick as saying that there have been increased incidents where aid was diverted from the intended beneficiaries in areas under the control of the Sana’a authorities.

He also said that, as basic social services in Yemen are near collapse, there is mounting pressure on aid agencies to expand the humanitarian response.

But he stressed that ensuring unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save the lives of those who depend on assistance, particularly as Yemen is facing an unprecedented cholera crisis and more than 7 million people are at risk of famine.

Furthermore, ships that enter the Yemeni Hodeida Port, which falls under the control of insurgents, are being subject to blackmailing and illegal practices by Houthis.

A commercial ship named “ALLIANCE,” which transports food to Yemen, complained that ships arriving at Hodeida Port are falling victim to illegal practices and are facing several risks, a reliable source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He said these practices make the port unsafe.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed had asked the Security Council that the Houthi militias and forces of the ousted Saleh hand out the port to an impartial party, a matter that was welcomed by the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen.



Sudan: Legal Experts Urge ICC to Dispatch Team to Probe War Crimes in Darfur

International Criminal Court (ICC) Persecutor Karim Khan (AFP)
International Criminal Court (ICC) Persecutor Karim Khan (AFP)
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Sudan: Legal Experts Urge ICC to Dispatch Team to Probe War Crimes in Darfur

International Criminal Court (ICC) Persecutor Karim Khan (AFP)
International Criminal Court (ICC) Persecutor Karim Khan (AFP)

The ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan urged civil society organizations to provide any evidence and material to aid an urgent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.
“We’re asking national authority counterparts, State parties and non-State parties alike, to share any evidence... in relation to these profound allegations of international crimes that are increasingly emerging and cannot be ignored,” Khan said following an attack on the South Hospital in al-Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur province on Sunday.
In a statement on X, Khan said he was “particularly concerned by the ethnically motivated nature” of attacks on civilian populations, especially in the western Darfur region, asking people to provide evidence so the ICC could investigate further.
Legal expert Hatem Elias told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday that “the Darfur file being investigated by the ICC is still open based on Security Council resolutions and previous court investigations that led to the charges against former President Omar al-Bashir, and a number of his aides.”
Elias said that previous Security Council resolutions granting the ICC the power to prosecute crimes against humanity “enabled the court to collect strong evidence confirming that crimes against humanity were committed in Darfur.”
For his part, legal expert and human rights activist El Moez Hadra told Asharq Al-Awsat that Khan’s appeal reveal that the ICC is interested to investigate the fresh attacks on al-Fasher and at the same time, continue to respect the 2005 Security Council resolution that referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor for investigations into allegations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“The ICC is currently questioning old and new suspects,” he said.
But the legal expert appealed to the ICC Prosecutor to form an international commission of inquiry that visits Sudan and provides its own evidence rather than just urge organizations to offer information.
Khan, as a public prosecutor, has the right to form an ICC commission tasked to collect factual evidence rather than ask for information from activists and human rights defenders, who are at risk and are being killed and detained by both warring sides in Sudan, Hadra affirmed.
He based his request on the well-known Security Council “Cassese Commission” that investigated war crimes in Darfur. The commission was led by the Italian Antonio Cassese and Egyptian Mohammed Fayek, who visited Darfur and wrote their own report on the situation in the country, the expert explained.
Hadra said Khan’s appeal for organizations to provide the court with evidence is “useless.”
“It’s not going to help the court because evidence is lost over time and witnesses are moving to other places... It is important to send an ICC field team that has international protection,” Hadra said, adding that Sudanese teams and lawyers are getting killed while investigating war crimes in the country.