In November 2013, the government of Yemen admitted that a “violation” of the Mine Ban Treaty had occurred in 2011 during the popular uprising that led to the ouster of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. This followed reports issued by Human Rights Watch and others earlier in 2013 showing that the former government’s Republican Guard forces laid thousands of antipersonnel mines in 2011 at Bani Jarmooz, northeast of Yemen’s capital Sana’a, resulting in numerous civilian casualties.
As a state party to the treaty, Yemen has a duty to identify those responsible for the mine-laying and to hold them accountable. The treaty also obligates Yemen to mark the mine-affected area, warn the population of the hazard, clear the mines, and assist the victims. Yemen committed to undertake these tasks immediately at Bani Jarmooz.
In March 2014 Yemen provided the treaty‘s president with an interim report on the situation at Bani Jarmooz that indicates plans have been made for clearance, marking, risk education, and victim assistance, but there appears to have been no clearance, no marking or fencing of mine-affected areas as of April 2014 and little or no risk education and victim assistance carried out.
Human Rights Watch investigations have confirmed that there has been no clearance of the mined areas at Bani Jarmooz and at least seven more civilian landmine victims since April 2013, including one death. Altogether since late 2011, landmines in the area have killed at least two civilians and wounded 20 according to Human Rights Watch and others.
Yemen’s interim report indicates that orders have been given to identify those responsible and to bring them to court, but to date no one has been held accountable for the landmine use despite requests from Mine Ban Treaty states parties and NGOs to conduct an investigation, as well as Yemen’s acknowledgment of the mine-laying and its commitment to investigate.