London, United Kingdom – The United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States have been asked to open police investigations into alleged war crimes committed by the United Arab Emirates and its mercenaries in Yemen in 2015 and 2019, and arrest Emirati officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
British law firm Stoke White filed the complaints on Wednesday to the Metropolitan Police in London, the US Department of Justice and Turkey’s Ministry of Justice on behalf of Yemeni journalist Abdullah Suliman Abdullah Daubalah, who claims he was targeted in an attack, and Salah Muslem Salem, whose brother was killed in the war-torn country.
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“Daubalah was targeted as a journalist in an attack in Aden, Yemen on 29 December, 2015. Salem’s brother, Mr Jameel Moslem Salem Batis, was assassinated in Seiyum city, Yemen on 28 July 2019,” the law firm said.
“Evidence shows that UAE and Yemeni officials, and mercenaries allegedly hired and instructed by the UAE, are responsible for torture and war crimes committed against civilians with political positions opposed to the UAE government.
“It is requested that the UK, US and Turkish police open investigations into these alleged crimes as soon as possible.”
The suspects live in the UAE but regularly travel to the UK, the law firm said. The victims remain in hiding.
Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, authorities in one country can arrest alleged suspects of another state when they enter, even if the crimes were not committed on its territory.
2015 attack in Aden
Evidence presented by Daubalah and Salem suggests the UAE was responsible for an attack in Aden on December 29, 2015, Stoke White said.
In 2018, BuzzFeed reported on that attack, alleging the UAE hired former American soldiers to assassinate Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the political party Al-Islah – with which Daubalah and Salem are affiliated.
That attempt ultimately failed, and Stoke White claimed that as part of that assault, a bomb was placed at Al-Islah party buildings in Aden, in an attempt on Daubalah’s life.
The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have designated a terrorist organisation. The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the US’s list of terrorist organisations, but US President Donald Trump has considered adding it.
Analysts rebut these claims, saying Al-Islah is a legitimate party.
Regarding the death of Salem’s brother Jameel Moslem Salem Batis, Stoke White said the killing was designed to scare Salem against returning to Yemen from exile because of the “political views he shared on social media”.
“Evidence points to similar assassinations of family members of individuals in Yemen who are viewed as politically opposed to the positions of the UAE government.”
The complainants also filed evidence that torture was carried out in UAE-run prisons in Yemen, with the support of US and Colombian mercenaries.
“The evidence demonstrates the widespread and systematic nature of violations and crime committed in Yemen against Yemeni civilians either by UAE officials or at their instruction,” Stoke White said.
The Saudi-UAE coalition, which receives support from Western countries, intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, after Houthi rebels seized large parts of the country’s north and removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government from Sanaa, the capital.
Last year, the UAE said it was pulling troops from Yemen, but it remains a coalition partner.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Rodney Dixon QC, an international human rights lawyer in London, said the case, which was funded by private individuals, “highlights how a foreign state used its own agencies and mercenaries to intervene in affairs of another state”.
“It is important that international community condemns this. If evidence shows that UAE acted unlawfully, then individuals should be stopped and arrested.”
Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces patrol a road during clashes with government forces in Aden on August 10, 2019 [Fawaz Salman/Reuters]
Turkey slams ‘biased’ EU sanctions over Libya arms embargo |NationalTribune.com
Turkey says the EU’s monitoring mission is biased as it overlooks armed shipments delivered by air and land routes [File: Matthias Schrader/AP] Turkey says the European Union’s sanctions on a Turkish firm accused of breaking a United Nations arms embargo on Libya showed the bloc’s double standards and biased stance. The EU on Monday froze…
Turkey says the EU’s monitoring mission is biased as it overlooks armed shipments delivered by air and land routes [File: Matthias Schrader/AP]
Turkey says the European Union’s sanctions on a Turkish firm accused of breaking a United Nations arms embargo on Libya showed the bloc’s double standards and biased stance.
The EU on Monday froze the assets of Avrasya Shipping, whose cargo vessel Cirkin was involved in a naval incident between NATO members France and Turkey in June.
The EU has accused the company of using the ship to smuggle weapons to Libya.
Ankara denies the arms-trafficking claim and says the ship was carrying humanitarian aid.
“The EU’s IRINI Operation is rewarding Haftar, and punishing the UN-recognised Libyan government,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said late on Monday, referring to the EU’s military mission in the Mediterranean to stop arms from reaching warring factions in Libya.
Ankara has supported Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli in the west.
Eastern Libya and much of the south, however, is controlled by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
“Overlooking those countries and companies, starting with the UAE, that send weapons from land and air to the putschist Haftar in violation of the [UN Security Council] decisions, while the support provided to the legitimate government … is deemed an embargo violation, is a clear signal that the EU is … biased,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
In addition to sanctions on the Turkish company, the EU also imposed sanctions on two Libyan men, and two other companies – Kazakhstan’s Sigma Airlines and Jordan’s Med Wave Shipping.
“When effort is being made to decrease the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, taking such a wrong decision is unfortunate,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
Turkey may also face EU sanctions due to a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over rights to natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, although tensions between Ankara and Athens have reduced in recent days.
Reuters news agency
Turkey to continue supporting Libya’s GNA even if al-Sarraj quits |NationalTribune.com
Turkey will continue to support Libya’s internationally recognised government despite Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj announcing last week that he planned to step down by the end of next month, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman. Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday that Turkish support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and their bilateral…
Turkey will continue to support Libya’s internationally recognised government despite Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj announcing last week that he planned to step down by the end of next month, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman.
Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday that Turkish support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and their bilateral agreements, which include a security pact and a maritime demarcation deal signed last year, would continue.
“These accords will not be impacted by this political period because these are decisions made by the government, not by any individual,” Kalin told Demiroren News Agency.
Late last year, Ankara reached an agreement with the GNA that it says grants Turkey drilling rights across a corridor of the Eastern Mediterranean – much of it within the maritime jurisdiction Greece also claims. Greece, Cyprus and other regional actors have denounced the Turkish-Libyan agreement as “illegal”, which Turkey denies.
Kalin said Turkish officials would travel to Tripoli “in the coming days” to discuss developments in the wake of al-Sarraj’s announcement.
Erdogan had also hinted at upcoming talks as he expressed regret at his close ally’s stated intention to hand over power by the end of October.
“Such a development, receiving this kind of news afterwards, was of course saddening for us,” Erdogan said on Friday.
“We also conveyed some news to him,” he added. “With these meetings, God willing, we can turn this issue in the direction it’s supposed to be,” Erdogan continued, without elaborating.
Since 2014, oil-rich Libya has been split between rival powers based in the west and in the east, in a sometimes chaotic war that has drawn in outside powers and a flood of foreign arms and mercenaries.
Al-Sarraj has headed the GNA since its formation in late 2015 as a result of a United Nations-brokered political agreement aimed at uniting and stabilising Libya after the turmoil that followed the toppling of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Turkish military support for the GNA in June allowed it to repel a 14 month-long offensive by forces loyal to eastern-based renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
The GNA declared a ceasefire last month and called for the lifting of a months-long blockade on oil output. The leader of a rival parliament in eastern Libya also appealed for a halt to hostilities, offering hope for a de-escalation of the conflict across Libya since a 2011 uprising.
Haftar dismissed the calls, but said on Friday he would lift for one month his blockade on oil outputs and that he had agreed with the GNA on “fair distribution” of energy revenue.
Turkey open to Mediterranean Sea talks but ‘determined’: Erdogan |NationalTribune.com
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Ankara was open to “constructive” talks but would remain determined in its eastern Mediterranean standoff with Greece. Erdogan made the comments in a videoconference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before an EU summit next week, at which the bloc will discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey over its…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Ankara was open to “constructive” talks but would remain determined in its eastern Mediterranean standoff with Greece.
Erdogan made the comments in a videoconference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before an EU summit next week, at which the bloc will discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey over its search for energy in waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.
Germany has taken the lead in trying to mediate an end to a conflict that has seen the two NATO neighbours stage rival air and sea drills in strategic waters between Cyprus and Crete.
The Turkish presidency said Erdogan told Merkel the dispute “could be resolved through negotiations … provided that a constructive approach, based on fairness, prevails”.
Erdogan “underscored he will continue to implement a decisive and active policy with regard to Turkey’s rights”, his office said.
Turkey says the EU unfairly backs Greece in a maritime dispute that stretches back decades, but which gained added importance with the discovery of large natural gas deposits in recent years.
‘Continue our operations’
The standoff appeared to be cooling off when Turkey’s Oruc Reis research vessel and its accompanying fleet of warships ended their month-long mission near a Greek island and pulled back to shore last weekend.
But Turkey stressed the vessel was only undergoing planned maintenance and would soon continue its exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told broadcaster CNN Turk on Wednesday that Oruc Reis’s maintenance may take “a few weeks”.
“Once maintenance is finished, we will continue our operations with determination,” he said.
The Turkish navy on Tuesday also announced the extension of the Yavuz drillship’s stay in disputed waters near Cyprus until October 12.
On Wednesday, the EU urged Turkey to remove the Yavuz from the area in the way that it moved the Oruc Reis.
“The recent withdrawal of the research vessel Oruc Reis is an important step paving the way for a meaningful dialogue between Greece and Turkey. The EU also calls for a similar decisions as concerns Cyprus,” said a spokesperson for the bloc’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.
“There is an opportunity to pursue immediate de-escalation and resume dialogue and negotiations, which is the only path towards lasting solutions,” he added.
Turkey’s research vessel, Oruc Reis, heads west of Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea [Turkish energy ministry via AP]
‘Blackmail and threats’
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday he was concerned by Turkey’s move to extend the operation of its Yavuz energy drillship in disputed Mediterranean waters.
“Turkey has a choice – engage with Europe in a constructive way or continue its unilateral actions and face consequences,” he said in an interview with the Economist.
The Turkish and Greek war games have drawn in EU powers and even the naval assets of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
NATO is hosting periodic rounds of technical talks aimed at opening up channels of communication that could keep Greece and Turkey from accidentally going to war.
Their two navies’ warships collided on August 12 in an incident that prompted Erdogan to warn Greece of a “heavy price” to pay were Turkish ships ever attacked.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday nothing could justify the intimidation of Greece and Cyprus by Turkey.
Cyprus, meanwhile, said it is ready to talk to Turkey to resolve differences but only “without blackmail and threats”, its president said on Wednesday.
“Nicosia has been always ready for a dialogue but for that … to be effective, it needs to be clearly defined based on international law, without blackmail or threats,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said after talks with European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits.
Anastasiades said Turkey’s move to extend the Yavuz drillship’s operations came at a time when the EU, of which Cyprus is a member state, was trying to reduce tensions.
EU leaders will look for ways to defuse tensions at the summit on September 24-25.
“In view of the EU Council meeting next week, we underscored the importance of staying united on the messages [to Turkey] and determined to implement our decisions if the illicit actions continue,” Anastasiades said.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci told an online panel on EU-Turkey relations the operations were in response to “unilateral actions” by Greek Cypriots and Greece.
“This is not an intimidation, this is just to say that Turkey will continue to defend its own rights and also the rights of Turkish Cypriots,” Kaymakci said.
Cyprus was split in two after a 1974 Turkish invasion in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup. Turkey recognises the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north, but not the internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government.
The government has long been at loggerheads with Turkey, which began drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus last year.
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