Yemen: Zeid appoints group of eminent international and regional experts

GENEVA (4 December 2017)

The upsurge in deadly violence in recent days in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, has once again highlighted the horrific impact on civilians of the country’s brutal war, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Monday.

“For three years, the people of Yemen have been subjected to death, destruction and despair. It is essential that those who have inflicted such violations and abuses are held to account,” the High Commissioner said, as he announced the appointment of the members of Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen established by the Human Rights Council.

The members are Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia), who will serve as chairperson, Charles Garraway (United Kingdom) and Melissa Parke (Australia).

“The group’s creation is an important step toward accountability and ending impunity for the serious violations of human rights committed by all sides in Yemen amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in the country, and ensuring justice and remedy for the victims,” said Zeid.

The group of eminent international and regional experts was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted on 29 September 2017. In the resolution, the Council condemns the “ongoing violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including those involving the widespread recruitment and use of children by parties to the armed conflict, arbitrary arrests and detention, denial of humanitarian access and attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including medical facilities and missions and their personnel, as well as schools, and emphasizes the importance of accountability”.

The resolution requests the experts “to monitor and report on the situation of human rights, to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations, and to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.”

The group of eminent experts will submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner by September 2018.

Member’s biographies:

Kamel Jendoubi, from Tunisia, served as the President of the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (ISIE), which organized the first free and democratic elections in Tunisia, in October, 2011. He has served as a member and president of several human rights associations, including the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. He was also a member of the executive council of the World Organization Against Torture. Jendoubi spent 17 years in exile as a result of his human rights activism in Tunisia.

Charles Garraway, from the United Kingdom, served for 30 years as a legal officer in the UK Army Legal Services, as criminal prosecutor and then adviser in the law of armed conflict and operational law.  He was part of the UK delegations to the First Review Conference for the 1981 Conventional Weapons Convention and the negotiations on the establishment of an International Criminal Court. Until recently he was a member of the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission under Article 90 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. He is currently a Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.

Melissa Parke, from Australia, was a federal member of parliament from 2007 to 2016 and was appointed as minister for international development in 2013.   Parke spent eight years working for the UN as a senior lawyer, including with UNMIK in Kosovo and UNRWA in Palestine. She has served in UN headquarters in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management where she helped to establish the UN Ethics Office. Parke also served as Deputy Chief of Staff and legal adviser to the UN Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Full text of HRC Resolution 36/31: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/36/31

ENDS

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