UN Chief: Saudi Use of US-made Cluster Bombs in Yemen Could Be a War Crime

Reports of Cluster Munitions Used Against Populated Areas in Capital

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued a statement today warning that the Saudi Arabian coalition’s intense airstrikes against residential areas, and apparent indiscriminate use of cluster bombs against populated areas in the capital city of Sanaa could amount to a war crime.

Over the past few days, images have surfaced of US-made cluster bombs found in densely populated neighborhoods, and that several buildings, including a kindergarten, had the pock-marked signs of being targeted with bomblets which exploded on contact.

Neither Yemen nor Saudi Arabia is a party to the 2008 ban on cluster munitions, but the use of them against civilian populations would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions at any rate, and has led human rights groups to call for more serious investigations.

So far, the UN human rights bodies have allowed the Saudis to investigate themselves on assorted war crimes, and needless to say the Saudis have insisted everything they’ve done was perfectly fine. The question about the cluster bombs is likely to suck in the US as well, however, for while the US has been cheerfully selling bombs to the Saudis to drop on Yemen, they had not confirmed any such sale of cluster bombs.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.