New York. The UN Security Council on Monday called for those behind killings and rights abuses in Yemen to be “held accountable” as demands grew for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to face trial, AFP reported.
Saleh has signed a deal under which he handed over powers to the vice president in return for immunity from prosecution. But Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman on Monday met the International Criminal Court prosecutor to demand action against Saleh.
And the 15-nation Security Council “reiterated that all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable” after a meeting on Yemen. It did not name Saleh.
Karman said she had submitted photographs of victims and witness accounts of the Yemeni government crackdown on protests to ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
“I’m here to tell the prosecutor to use his rights to convince the international community and the Security Council to bring Saleh to the ICC,” Karman said in The Hague.
The crackdown since January is said to have left hundreds dead but the immunity is written into the accord brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Saleh, 69, told UN leader Ban Ki-moon he would seek treatment in the United States after signing the accord in Saudi Arabia last week. Saleh has since returned to Yemen however.
In a statement, the Security Council “deplored” new deadly violence in the capital, Sanaa, and “emphasized the need for increased and unimpeded humanitarian access to address the growing crisis.”
Despite the controversy still swirling around Saleh, who ruled for 33 years, the UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, said the GCC accord “opens the door to a credible transition” in the strife-torn country.
“There are many challenges that remain. All Yemenis will need to come together, to reconcile and to tackle the difficulties that lie ahead,” Benomar told reporters after briefing the council.
He said the peace plan, which called for new elections and the creation of an interim government, was “on track” and that the accord did not oblige Saleh to leave Yemen.
Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has called a presidential election for February 21 and on Sunday named opposition chief Mohammed Basindawa to form an interim government.
“The plan is credible and it will be more credible if all the parties cooperate for implementation,” Benomar told reporters, stressing that the three months leading up to the elections would be a “delicate phase”.