On the occasion of the Persian gulf day 29 April there was a discourse on the latest development in the Persian gulf region. The following question were raised and answered by panelists
What is the sequences of the Yemen war? Is Yemen crises a proxy war? Who will benefit or who is the winner of the conflict? What is the extent of Iran interfere in Yemen crises? Can Iran arms the Houthis?
Is there any substantial facts and documents to prove the claims of Saudi Arabia? Is the air strikes by coalition legitimate?
Legitimate or illegal aggression?
Saudi Arabia and its allies commenced its bombing campaign against Yemen under the banner “Operation Decisive Storm” on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.
Saudi Arabian said his country’s acted “in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling.” it was carrying out military operation on the basis of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and in response to the request by legitimate President Mansur Hadi to save that country and its people from the continuous aggression of the Houthis.
However many legal experts and international lawyers have raised doubt about the legality legitimacy of the Saudi acts.
The Saudi military action in Yemen can be analyzed from three points of views :
Yemani domestic law.
international law .
and humanitarian law.
The attack by the Arab coalition countries against Yemen not only violated the constitution of that country, but also violated core principals of international law. The violation of the prohibition against the use of force, interference in the internal affairs of another countries, as well as the violation of the territorial integrity of Yemen, cannot be justified as compliance with and respect for these three doctrines which have been expressly provided for in the UN charter and the resolutions of the UN security council .
- The domestic laws of Yemen
The constitution of Yemen sets out two possible solutions for and assisted stabilization of its internal affairs. Articles 37 and 38 of the constitution of Yemen describe the situation in which another state may intervene military to assist in the stabilization of its internal domestic unrest. These are: First, the parliamentary approval; Second, a decision by the national defense council, in a meeting presided over by the elected president of Yemen (Article 38).
The current situation and Saudi Arabia military intervention, was not a result of any of the conditions sets out in the aforementioned two articles.
The Article 37 of the constitution of Yemen states that “After the approval by the parliament, the president will announce the mobilization of forces.”
According to the Article 111 of the constitution of Yemen, the president is the highest authority of the armed forces .however; he is not in powered to independently, i.e. without approval from the parliament, take any decision on the mobilization of forces, and or interference of other countries in the internal affairs of Yemen, including their military intervention.
Moreover, prior to the Saudi military intervention in Yemen, the supreme national defense council had not been constituted, nor did it take any decision in this regard. Any Such decision, and consent, of the supreme national defense council is a necessary prerequisite in accordance with Article 38 of the constitution.
- The perspective of international law
Saudi Arabia and its allied countries, as Member of the international community, are bound by the principles of international law. In light of the centrality the UN Charter and its express regulations in relation to rights and obligation of the states in the international arena, it is necessary that its articles relevant for this topic are considered and analyzed.
Paragraph 3 of Article 2 of the charter states clearly that “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” This Section clearly prohibits a first resort to violent means by Member states. Also in defense of the principles of territorial integrity and political independence of states, Paragraph 4 of the same article prohibits all Member states from use of force, the threat of the use of force, or the use of any other means contrary to the aims of the United Nations. Article 6 of the charter states that a Member of the UN, which insists on violating the principle of the Charter, may be expelled from the UN by the General Assembly at the recommendation of the Security Council.
It is clear from the above that the use of force in violation of the United Nations’ aims (international peace and security, among others) by Members against another Member is strictly prohibited.
Whatever has happened as a result of the activities of Saudi Arabia in Yemen has in no way been addressed in a manner compatible with the aims of the United Nations.
Chapter Six of the UN Charter highlights the peaceful resolution of disputes. It states that all states, before taking any action, should first try to resolve their disputes through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional arrangements or other peaceful means of their choice (Article 33 and para1). The point that requires attention in this article is the action that the Security Council must take for addressing conflicts that endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. On this basis, the Security Council first calls upon the parties to the conflict to resolve their disputes through aforementioned means (paragraph 2, Article 33). Otherwise, the parties (not one party) should refer the dispute to the Security Council (Article 37). The role of the Security Council, which this chapter of the charter proscribes for it, is of utmost importance (Article 38).
The Seventh Chapter of the Charter (Articles 39 – 51) regulates action with respect to the violation of peace and acts of aggression. This chapter outlines also a state’s right to self-defense in the event of an armed attack against it. Article 51 provides that until the Security Council undertakes necessary steps for securing international peace and security, none of the rules of the charter places any limitation over a state to exercise a right to self–defense, whether individual or collective. Nevertheless, Member states must report to the Security Council all actions taken by them in their exercise of this right.
In tune with paragraph 1 of Article 53 of the UN Charter, the attack against Yemen is flawed, illegitimate and illegal. This Section obligates Member states to seek approval of the Security Council before taking any action against other UN Members .
The Saudi authorities sought no such approval before attacking Yemen and this attack has been undertaken in the flagrant violation of the UN Charter. It is obvious that the Security Council, in its Resolution No. 2216 passed on April 14, 2015, has closed its eyes from these gross violations.
It should be recalled that Saudi Arabia claim regarding the request made to it by Mansur Hadi for stabilizing the domestic situation of Yemen can in no way be justified as he had resigned before the date of aggression by Saudi Arabia against Yemen. Saudi Arabia would have been justified to intervene in Yemen only if:
- Hadi was still holding the post of the President of Yemen.
- Saudi Arabia would have reported to the Security Council and received permission before resorting to the use of force.
Mansur Hadi had no legitimacy as the president of the country but was responsible for the transition of power. Therefore, he was not the legitimate president of the country and had no right to request military interference from Saudi Arabia. This fact can be deduced from Resolution No. 2204 of the Security Council as well, which does not mention Hadi as the legitimate president of Yemen
Likewise,it is necessary to note that the above-mentioned reasons can be also applied in relation to the violation of the charters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the statues of Arab League. According to these charters, the Islamic countries should resolve their mutual differences within the framework of the OIC. And in case of Arab countries, through the Arab league. Saudi Arabia failed to consult with any of the aforementioned organizations before undertaking attack against Yemen.
- The perspective of humanitarian law:
The attack and use of illegal weapons (see report by HRW on Saudi use of cluster bombs, dated 03 may 2015) has violated the laws of war and resulted in the killing of innocent civilians and children, as well as destruction of infrastructure in Yemen. Therefore, this resolution has practically lost its legitimacy.
Heavy aerial attacks and bombardment the residential and civilian areas of Yemen by the Saudis using cluster munitions has resulted in the loss of thousands of civilian lives, particularly amongst women, the children and the elderly. Moreover, by preventing delivering humanitarian aids to the war victims and injured persons, Saudi Arabia has caused a devastating humanitarian catastrophe for the people of Yemen, specifically, and the region as a whole.
The destruction of the civilian infrastructure like water, electricity and medical facilities, was used as a means to bring to the people of Yemen to their knee. Moreover, the destructive Saudi fighter-jet attacks are also in violation of the following instruments:
– The ‘Geneva Conventions 1949;
– Article 77 of First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention of 1977 about special respect to the children in the face of every form of disrespect.
– The September 16, 1924 declaration of the League of Nations in support of the rights of the children.
– The declaration of the children rights, November 1959;
– the declaration of the UN General Assembly December 14, 1974 related to the support to the women and the children at the time of crises and armed conflicts;
– Resolution 2444 of December 19, 1968, 2597 of December 16, 1969 and 2674 of December 09,1970 also have supported the human rights and the rights of the civilians at the times of the armed conflicts.
As outlined in this report, Saudi Arabia’ assault and bombarding campaign Yemen is in flagrant violation of not just Yemeni laws, but, more importantly, international law, humanitarian law and human rights law. By resorting to violent and means of destruction in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and its allies are threatening global and regional and Persian gulf peace and security but, in spite of it all, the Security Council remains silent.
A major Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen is an outright breach of international law that could have serious consequences for the entire region, Dr. Hans Kochler, President of the International Progress Organization (IPO) in Austria, told Sputnik the first day after Saudi attack:
“The foreign military intervention in Yemen is a clear-cut violation of international law, in particular of Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which bans the use of force in relations between states,” Kochler, who heads the organization consulting the United Nations, said.
Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen Contrary to Int’l Law, Violate its Sovereignty – According to Kochler, the unilateral action of Saudi Arabia and its allies is not in any way justified as act of “collective self-defense” under the UN Charter.
“In actual fact, it is interference in a civil war on the side of one party to the conflict, and it will make the domestic conflict even worse and much more difficult to resolve,” the professor added.
Kochler stressed that Riyadh’s actions threatened to spark a major, region-wide conflict along the Sunni-Shiite divide that could have serious implications across the Arab world”.