Berlin/Rome/Sana’a, 8 October 2019 – Exactly three years ago, a family of six was killed in an airstrike by the Saudi/UAE-led military coalition in Deir Al-Ḩajārī in northwest Yemen. Those killed in the strike included a pregnant woman and her four young children. Bomb remnants were found at the site of the attack, including a suspension lug manufactured by RWM Italia S.p.A., a subsidiary of the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall AG. In April 2018, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), together with its Yemen-based partner Mwatana for Human Rights, and Italian-based Rete Italiana per il Disarmo, submitted a criminal complaint on the case.
After more than a year and a half of investigations, the Italian public prosecutor’s office in Rome, instead of carrying out a complete assessment of the role of Italy and an Italian weapons manufacturer’s potential role in crimes in Yemen, has decided to request a dismissal of the case. The three organizations will appeal the prosecutor’s decision, as the case – and Yemeni victims – deserve a proper investigation of Italy’s role in the devastating Saudi/UAE-led coalition attacks, which continue to kill, wound and gravely harm civilians.
“The decision by the prosecutor is incomprehensible. This case is not about mere business or improper commercial advantages, it’s about Italy’s potential responsibility for crimes committed in Yemen. The Saudi/UAE-led coalition has killed and injured thousands of civilians since 2015 in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in Yemen, fueled by arms exports from Europe. If RWM Italia managers and officials of the Italian National Authority for the Authorization of Arms (UAMA) are complicit in crimes committed by the Saudi/UAE-led coalition and their partners, they must be held accountable,” the civil society organizations said in a joint statement. They argue that:
For more information (case report, video, photos) see ECCHR/Yemen.
ECCHR: Michelle Trimborn, Tel.: + 49 (0)30 – 40 10 94 54, E-Mail: trimborn@ECCHR.eu
Mwatana for Human Rights: Radhya al-Mutawakel, Tel: + 967 77 416 6666, E-Mail: email@example.com
Rete Disarmo, Francesco Vignarca, Tel: +39 328/3399267, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org