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  • The five-year-old war in Yemen has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people.

    The five-year-old war in Yemen has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 February 2020

The complaints were submitted on behalf of Yemeni journalist  Abdullah Suliman Abdullah Daubalah who claims he was targeted in an attack and Salah Muslem Salem whose brother was assassinated.

A British law firm, Stoke White, has requested the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the United States use the principle of universal jurisdiction and open police inquiries in alleged war crimes committed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen.

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The complaints, which were submitted Wednesday to the Metropolitan Police in London, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Turkey's Ministry of Justice, were made on behalf of Yemeni journalist  Abdullah Suliman Abdullah Daubalah. Abdullah claims being targeted in an attack, while Salah Muslem Salem, says his brother was assassinated.

"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," Stoke White 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."

"The suspects reside in the UAE and the United States, and are not resident in the U.K. or Turkey," ​​​​​​the head of international law at Stoke White Hakan Camuz said. 

"However, they travel to the U.K. regularly." He added that the victims remain in hiding.

The principle of universal jurisdiction allows a country to arrest and prosecute alleged suspects of another state of severe crimes against international law, including war crimes genocide and torture if their own countries are protecting these individuals.

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The complainants also filed evidence that torture was overused in UAE-run prisons in Yemen, with the support of U.S. 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," the legal firm said.

Backed by the U.S. and several European countries, the Saudi-UAE coalition launched an intervention in Yemen's civil war in 2015, after Houthi rebels seized large parts of the Arab country's north and ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital Sanaa.

The UAE had announced last year it was pulling its troops from the unwinnable war. On Monday, it started to withdraw some of its soldiers but said it would remain a coalition partner.

The five-year-old war in Yemen has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people and created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

London's Metropolitan police have a war crimes unit with the task of investigating alleged war crimes and torture.

Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the U.K. has prosecuted two foreign nationals for crimes perpetrated in other countries over the 20 last years.

Afghan Faryadi Zardad was jailed for 20 years in 2005 for torture and hostage-taking. Nepalese colonel, Kumar Lama, was acquitted by a British criminal court of torture charges in 2016.

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