Last updated: 28 November, 2011

Yemen’s Nobel laureate wants ICC to investigate Saleh

Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman on Monday asked the world court to investigate President Ali Abdallah Saleh over his regime’s crackdown on protests that have killed hundreds of people this year.

“I’m here to tell the prosecutor to use his rights to convince the international community and the (UN) Security Council to bring Saleh to the ICC,” Karman told AFP on the sidelines of his meeting with chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

“I am also here to tell the prosecutor and the international community that this procedure is the only way to bring criminals to justice,” he said.

Karman — who shared the 2011 Nobel peace prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and “peace warrior” Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia — met for 40 minutes with Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court headquarters.

She said she had submitted numerous documents, including photographs of victims and witness accounts during the Yemeni government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests since January.

The prosecutor said that “as soon as we get jurisdiction, we’ll implement force.” Yemen is not signatory to the Rome statute that established the ICC.

Saleh, 69, has ruled Yemen for 33 years and last week signed a deal in Riyadh, mediated by Gulf Cooperation Council states, in which he agreed to step down in return for immunity from prosecution for himself and his family.

Activists who have spearheaded 10 months of protests against Saleh’s rule, are furious that the agreement signed with the parliamentary opposition offers Saleh a way to avoid facing court.

A bloody crackdown on anti-Saleh demonstrations across Yemen since January has claimed hundreds of lives.