Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman calls for Yemen war tribunal

Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman calls for Yemen war tribunal
Yemen Nobel prize winner Tawakkol Karman has spoken to a conference in Istanbul condemning the global lethargy in
2 min read
09 November, 2018
Karman is a Nobel prize winner [Getty]

Nobel laureate and Yemen activist Tawakkol Karman called for the world to end the war in her native country and those charged with crimes during the conflict to be brought to justice, at a conference held in Istanbul on Friday.

The United Nations and global powers should take "deliberate and responsible actions to end the war and restore peace in Yemen", the conference said.

It follows statements by the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, in late October, saying he aims to re-launch Yemen peace talks "within a month".

Karman, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2011, played a key role in protests that led to the downfall of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Since then the Houthi rebels have taken over much of the country, with a Gulf-backed force aiding the exiled government's allied forces fighting back.

A Saudi-led air war against rebel areas has seen thousands killed, with the war also leading to the brink of famine.

The Istanbul conference called for a "referendum on a draft constitution" and for national elections "under UN supervision to ensure a peaceful and legitimate power transition".

An international court on Yemen should also be established to consider "all crimes committed by the local and international parties in the conflict", the conference concluded. 

Karman called on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to end their "unconstructive interference in Yemen and stop supporting terrorist groups and armed militias as well as mercenaries who have assassinated Yemenis in Aden and Taiz".

She also called for an end to interference in her country's affairs by "by the mullahs in Iran [trying] to control Yemen by supporting Houthi militias".   

Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognised by the United Nations, fled a Houthi takeover of the capital in 2015.

Pro-government forces are currently pushing deeper into the port city of Hodeida, which threatens to plunge the country into a major humanitarian crisis.

Nearly 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the conflict since 2015, according to the World Health Organisation, while other figures put the death toll at over 50,000. 

Saudi Arabia has been criticised by some members of the international community for its destructive role in the war. 

It has also faced criticism for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul which caused international outrage.