In a report from April 2018, the UN describes the war in Yemen as the "world's worst humanitarian crisis," one that has left over ten million people dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. Since 2015, thousands of civilians have been killed in the armed conflict; many more have died from famine and disease.
While human rights violations are committed by all conflict parties in Yemen, one of the main causes of civilian casualties are airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition, which launched its military intervention in Yemen in March 2015. Along with Saudi Arabia, the coalition also includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait and Sudan. Numerous reports by the UN and NGOs in Yemen and abroad document repeated and deadly attacks on civilian targets like hospitals, markets, schools and residential buildings.
Despite all of the reports, warnings and evidence that the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition breach international humanitarian law, European companies are among those selling arms to the coalition states – with authorization from their respective European government authorities.
ECCHR and its partner organizations from Yemen and in Europe are using the law to ensure that companies such as Italian arms producer RWM Italia, a subsidiary of German firm Rheinmetall AG, and Italy's arms exports licensing authority UAMA are held accountable for their role in aiding and abetting to civilian deaths in Yemen.
The Administrative Court of Cologne dismissed the claim brought against the German government by three Yemeni citizens. The claimants survived a drone strike in Yemen in which US military base Ramstein played a central role.
In October 2016, an airstrike – alleged to have been carried out by the Saudi-led military coalition – struck a civilian home in the village of Deir Al-Hajari in northwest Yemen. The intentional directing of attacks against the civilian population amounts to war crimes. ECCHR is taking legal action against this.