Press Release – Legal Proceedings on Behalf of Yemeni Clients

Applications Were Made to the United Nations Mechanisms Regarding War Crimes Committed in Yemen

Stoke White filed evidence of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in three jurisdictions including the UK, USA and Turkey on behalf of its clients. Authorities in the concerned jurisdictions were requested to further investigate the Sana’a Funeral Hall attack in 2016, the use of mercenaries, enforced disappearances, and torture in secret prisons across Yemen by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The applications submitted holds evidence that the rulers and / or officials of the UAE and Saudi Arabia along with mercenaries are directly involved in war crimes in Yemen. This includes, Yemeni citizens who worked with a mercenary company or individuals associated with the mercenaries in question.

The legal processes in these jurisdictions continue and are supported with further evidence submission by Stoke White. Stoke White have also engaged with the UN mechanisms to ensure the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in question are on the agenda.

Application to the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

On 25 March, 2020, Stoke White submitted evidence to the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, and requested an investigation on all mercenaries operating in Yemen, in particular the executives of the US company Spear Operations Group, whereby individuals associated with it have confessed committing crimes in Yemen. Additionally, the investigation of individuals, companies and states that have financed unlawful hostilities in Yemen have been requested.  Evidence provided strongly implicates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan for providing financial support to Spear Operations Group through Mohammed Dahlan to conduct targeted killings of prominent Yemeni figures and leaders. This matter has also been raised in the US Congress particularly because the violations occurred with companies registered in the USA, and hired by the UAE. In this context, the Working Group is expected to take the initiative within the framework of its mandate regarding the USA and the UAE. Hiring of mercenaries to conduct targeted killing as a systematic program is a  violation of International humanitarian law and International human rights law. The confession made by the CEO of Spear Operations Group Abraham Golan and by Bay Gilmore shows the importance of these crimes to the Working Group and, in general, to all relevant UN mechanisms.

Applications to the Human Rights Council (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) and the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen

On 30 March, 2020, Stoke White filed separate applications with the UN Human Rights Council and the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen regarding violations of International Human Rights and War Crimes committed against its clients. Stoke White’s clients were subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, which featured in UN Human Rights Council and the Group of Eminent Expert’s official reports. These applications documented many International law violations in Yemen, with particular attention to the Sana’a Funeral Hall Attack which occurred on 08.10.2016. Saudi Arabia admitted responsibility for the attack which killed some 137 civilians. Stoke White submitted applications on behalf of 3 of its clients who have lost relatives in the attack. The applications also included the unlawful programmes such as targeted killings, enforced disappearances, sexual assault, illegal detention and torture in secret prisons, by the use of American and other foreign mercenaries in Yemen.


Summary of contents of Stoke White’s filing today:

  1. Victim’s statement of the Sana’a Funeral Hall attack on 08.10.2016, as an example of the unlawful and systematic attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition against civilian targets;
  2. One victim statement on the targeted assassination programme conducted by a UAE-hired mercenary, including against a group of politicians, religious leaders and journalists;
  3. In order to draw attention to the systematic torture and rape committed in secret prisons established by UAE in Southern Yemen, Stoke White submitted one victim statement on the abuse endured in prison.

The evidence submitted in all the applications above includes confessions by perpetrators, statements of the victims, and UN Human Rights Council reports. In this regard, the UN Human Rights Council’s perusal of Stoke White’s submission will constitute an important step in seeking justice for the victims in Yemen.

Clients represented by Stoke White are only a fraction of the tens of thousands of victims in Yemen. Parties to the conflict in Yemen are consistently violating International humanitarian law and human rights. Some five years on, Yemen’s civil war continues without a peace plan or commitment to end hostilities by any of the warring parties. According to UN, Yemen constitutes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and since Yemen government does not have sufficient capacity to conduct an investigation, it is necessary to resort to UN mechanisms to seek justice for all victims.

Stoke White Ltd


For English: Yakup Bozdağ

For Turkish: Gülden Sönmez

For Arabic: Alaaddin Muhsen

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