For a long time, Saudi Arabia bombed Yemen mercilessly. The number of casualties rose rapidly, but the United States continues to supply Riyadh with ammunition for new airstrikes. All of this could turn into lawsuits for State Department officials.
The New York Times recalled that even during the presidency of Barack Obama, the State Department’s legal department decided to equate the sale of bombs to the Saudis with a war crime. Accordingly, high-ranking Washington officials may be brought to justice, and with the coming to power of Donald Trump, there are more reasons.
Against this background, the leadership of the State Department did everything possible to hide the criminal acts. The State Department’s general inspection investigation this year showed that the department did not take into account the legal risks of selling ammunition to the Saudis. However, the officials made sure that the details of this discovery were included in the classified section of the public report. Then they were generally so heavily edited that even legislators with access to classified data could not see the results of the check.
Legal scholars believe that the fears of officials are justified. But this does not solve the key problem. The victims of Saudi aggression are known not only in the United States, but also in other countries that, with the help of universal jurisdiction over war crimes, can bring charges against American statesmen. So far, no foreign court has dared to oppose the United States. Nonetheless, the NYT notes that State Department officials responsible for selling weapons are worried enough to consult lawyers about the prospect of arrest if they travel abroad.
“If I worked for the State Department, I would be worried about my potential responsibility,” said Yale professor and ex-Pentagon lawyer Oona Hathaway. — I think that anyone who participates in this program should find a lawyer. This is a very dangerous area in which the United States is located, continuing to provide support, given the number of civilians killed. «
Even if the courts of individual states do not bring charges against the Americans because of the terror in Yemen, the materials can be transferred to international structures. Last week, UN officials have already presented a detailed report on the atrocities in Yemen. The Security Council even received a request to create a tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. As the newspaper notes, international courts are working with great enthusiasm to bring American officials to justice.
In March, the International Criminal Court ruled that its chief attorney could open an investigation into the actions of US troops in Afghanistan. This is the first time that a court has allowed a case against the United States. The Trump administration has responded to such a move with sanctions, thereby showing how fearful it is of accusations.