After the US-backed Saudi-led coalition issued astatementon Saturday calling its deadlybombing of a Yemeni school bus " unjustified" and claiming it was the result of mere "mistakes,"human rights groupsand progressive lawmakers ramped up calls for the U.S. to immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been viciously bombing Yemen for years.
The bomb landed a few meters from a bus packed with boys on an excursion organized by a mosque to visit the graves of men who had been killed in fighting, the group said.
The UN panel also pointed to possible war crimes committed by the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels fighting the coalition.
"There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing [the opportunity] to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage", said legal advisor of the Joint Incident Assessment Team, Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour. The statement pledged to hold those responsible accountable, and said families of the victims would be compensated.
The coalition has been accused of committing numerous human rights violations in Yemen.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said last week that US support for the Saudi-led coalition was not unconditional.
"We continue to call on all sides to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict, to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, and thoroughly investigate and ensure accountability for any violations", she added. In June, the AP reported that hundreds of detainees had been subjected to sexual abuse and torture.
Yemen's civil war pitting the Saudi-led coalition against Iran-aligned rebels, known as Houthis, has been raging for more than three years.
The coalition has faced criticism for its campaign of airstrikes that has killed civilians and destroyed hospitals and markets. They have also targeted religious minorities and imprisoned opponents.
Preparations are under way to transfer Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to the United States tonight to receive medical treatment, a Yemen government source told Reuters on Sunday.
The devastating conflict has since left almost 10,000 people dead and sparked what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.