Amnesty International calls for Sa’ada inquiry [Archives:2004/754/Local News]

July 12 2004

Amnesty International, the international human rights organisation, has written to the Ministry of Interior to demand an inquiry into the accidental deaths of civilians during the ongoing clashes near around Sa'ada. The organization demanded that the results of the inquiry be made public and that any individuals identified responsible for civilian deaths be prosecuted.
The number of civilian casualties is not known, in part due to the difficulty of distinguishing between
combatants and non-combatants.
The organization urged the ministry to ensure that detainees captured during the fighting are treated in accordance with international standards. Amnesty expressed specific concern about the possible use of torture and incommunicado detention.
The letter drew attention to the responsibilities of the Yemeni government under international agreements, particularly the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law enforcement Officials and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials. The letter quoted Basic Principle 9, 'In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life', and Basic Principle 8, 'exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from these basic principles.'.
Amnesty International hope to verify compliance with these international principles.