CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON SAUDI-LED COALITION’S ADMISSION OF INTENTIONAL AIR STRIKE ON A FUNERAL IN YEMEN

October 18, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington - Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) issued the following statement in light of the Saudi-led coalition’s intentional air strike on a funeral in Yemen.  The Saudi coalition has admitted to intentionally targeting the funeral.

"The Saudi-led military coalition has now essentially admitted to committing war crimes.  The Saudi coalition blames their intentional strike on a funeral in Yemen on 'false information' that armed rebel leaders would be at the site.  We know from this admission that this strike was not the result of an errant bomb or pilot error.  The civilian funeral ceremony was the intended target of the Saudi coalition. 

“But even if some rebels had been present at the funeral, that would not justify an airstrike that targeted more than 650 civilians.  Under the Law of Armed Conflict--which I taught when I served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force--military force cannot be used if it would cause disproportionate civilian casualties.  Clearly in this case, with at least 140 civilians killed and over 525 injured, the military force used by the Saudi coalition was excessive and disproportional under the Law of War. 

“This airstrike is yet another example of a disturbing pattern where the Saudi coalition drops bombs on civilian targets nowhere near military targets, or drops bombs killing a disproportionate number of civilians.  With over 70 unlawful coalition airstrikes on civilians documented by human rights groups, it is abundantly clear the Saudi coalition either does not understand the Law of War or does not care to follow it in many instances. 

“Defense and military officials in Saudi Arabia responsible for the funeral strike need to resign and be investigated for committing war crimes.  The U.S. also needs to immediately cease aiding and abetting a Saudi coalition that has committed war crimes."

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