Joint Incidents Assessment Team Refutes Allegations against Coalition Forces

Wednesday 1442/8/11 - 2021/03/24
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Riyadh, Mar 24, 2021, SPA -- Official Spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen Legal Counsellor Mansour Al-Mansour refuted a number of claims raised by global bodies and international organizations on errors allegedly committed by the Coalition Forces to Support Legitimacy in Yemen during their military operations in Yemen.
In a press conference held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Riyadh today, Al-Mansour reviewed the results of assessing five incidents included in those claims as follows:
With regard to the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General No. (A/HRC/42/CRP.1) issued (03 September 2019), that the Group of Experts documented the damages to the (Al-Thawrah) Hospital in the north-east of (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, as a result of shelling and shooting, the hospital reported that the bombing killed an ambulance worker on (20 April 2015).
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, shooting records of coalition artillery and mortar units, satellite images, Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL), Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that (Al-Thawrah Hospital) is located in the north-eastern part of (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and is included in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).
By studying the records of the Coalition Forces surface units on (20/04/2015) which is the day of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces surface units did not carry out any military missions using surface to surface weapons, in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate in the date and location of the claim.
By studying the Coalition Forces air missions carried out on (20/04/2015) which is the day of the claim, JIAT found that Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target on a specific location used by Al-Houthi armed militia to support the War effort, in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and approximately (930) meters away from (Al-Thawrah) Hospital of the claim. By studying after mission reports, and satellite images of the military target site, JIAT found that the bombs hit their targets.
By studying the daily mission schedule carried out by the Coalition Forces the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. On (19/04/2015) the day before the date of the claim, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target, (1,700) meters away from (Al-Thawrah) Hospital of the claim.
2. On (21/04/2015) the day after the date of the claim, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target, (53) km away from (Al-Thawrah Hospital) of the claim.
By studying the satellite images of (Al-Thawrah Hospital) after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. No damages resulting from air strikes on the buildings of (Al-Thawrah Hospital) of the claim.
2. The distance between (Al-Thawrah Hospital) and the military target in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate is (930) meters, which is considered to be a safe distance, and outside the possible side effects of the air targeting.
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target (Al-Thawrah Hospital) in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate as claimed.
With regard to what JIAT observed in some media, that the Coalition Forces on (16/08/2020) targeted (fuel storage) in (Al-Arj) area in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, other media reported that the site targeted by the Coalition Forces was (oil factory).
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, satellite images, intelligence reports, video recordings of the executed mission, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that, based on intelligence information about (site belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia protected by air defense, and used to manufacture munitions, with an underground warehouse) on a specific location, in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, in an area semi-isolated from civilian objects.
The degrees of verification were available through the ground sources, which confirmed the existence of (site belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia, protected by air defense, and used to manufacture munitions, with an underground warehouse) in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, based on Rule (16) of customary international humanitarian law which actively contributes to military actions, and considered to be a legitimate military target, that achieves a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian law.
Accordingly, the Coalition Forces on (16/08/2020) carried out an air mission on a military target (site belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia protected by air defense, and used to manufacture munitions, with an underground warehouse) in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, on a specific location, using guided bombs that hit their targets.
The Coalition Forces have taken the possible precautions to avoid accidental loss or damage to civilian and civilian objects, or in any case, minimize it to the lowest possible, by the following:
1. Using guided bombs which commensurate with the size of the military target.
2. Ensuring no civilian or civilian objects at the military target site before and during the targeting, based on article (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rules (15) and (17) of customary international humanitarian law.
By Comparing the claim with the documents relating to the mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
1. There is discrepancy between the media regarding claimed type, as some media described it as a (gas station), while others described it as an (oil factory).
2. The description of the (military target) is different from the description of the claim in the media.
By studying the video recordings of the task carried out, JIAT found the following:
1. The aim was on the military target, and was direct hit.
2. No civilians were observed before and during the targeting.
3. Secondary explosions were observed after targeting.
By studying the satellite images of the military target site, JIAT found the following:
1. Air targeting effects on the military target (site belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia protected by air defense, and used to manufacture munitions, with an underground warehouse).
2. No aerial targeting effects on a (factory) south of the target site.
3. No aerial targeting effects on a (gas station) north of the target site.
In light of that JIAT found the following:
1. The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (site belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia protected by air defense, and used to manufacture munitions, with an underground warehouse) in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.
2. Invalidity of what was broadcasted in some media that Coalition Forces targeted (fuel storage) or (oil factory) in (Al-Arj) area in (Bajil) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate.
With regard to what was stated in the report issued by Physicians Human Rights in (march 2020), entitled (Attacks by the parties to the conflict on the health sector in Yemen), which included that on (02/09/2015) Coalition aircrafts bombed (Al-Atfain Health Center) in (Kitaf and Al-Baqa'a) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, killing two people and damaging the center and the staff residence.
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, video recordings of the executed mission, satellite images, Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL), coordinates provided by the representative of the legitimate Yemeni government in JIAT for the centers and hospitals contained in the report, the website of the National Information Center in Yemen which contains the health centers and hospitals in Yemen, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the (Al-Atfain Health Center) of the claim is one of the medical centers mentioned on the official website of the Yemeni National Information Center designated for health centers and hospitals in Yemen, and is located in (Kitaf and Al-Baqa'a) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).
By studying the Coalition Forces air missions carried out on (02/09/2015) which is the day of the claim, JIAT found that Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on two military targets, (a rocket launcher) and (a vehicle belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia), on a specific location in (Kitaf and Al-Baqaa) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, (18) km Away from (Al-Atfain Health Center) of the claim, using tow guided bombs that hit their targets.
By studying the daily mission schedule carried out by the Coalition Forces the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. On (01/09/2015) the day before the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (35) km away from (Al-Atfain Health Center) of the claim.
2. On (03/09/2015) the day after the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (10.5) km away from (Al-Atfain Health Center) of the claim.
By studying the satellite images of (Al-Atfain Health Center) site after the date of the claim, by the JIAT specialists, and found the following:
1. (Al-Atfain Health Center) of the claim consists of two separate buildings inside a fence.
2. No damages caused by air strikes on the buildings of the (Al-Atfain Health Center).
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target (Al-Atfain Health Center) in (Kitaf and Al-Baqaa) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate as claimed.
With regard to what was referred to JIAT from Coalition Forces Command, to study and evaluate the results of the targeting of Al- Houthi armed militia grouping on Thursday (13/09/2018), in (Marran) area of (Sa'da) governorate, and what was observed by JIAT in the open sources, that an air strike on (13/09/2018) hit a (house) of displaced families, killing two children in (Marran) area in (Haydan) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate.
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, satellite images, Close Air Support (CAS) forms, intelligence reports, operational reports, electronic warfare activity summary, open sources, JIAT visit to the operations centers and related field units, meeting those involved in planning and execution of aerial missions and listening to their statements, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that an intelligent information had been received from ground sources inside Yemen, that Al-Houthi armed militia is strengthening of its presence in the (Marran) area of (Sa'da) governorate, and developing new sites in vacant lands, approximately (8) km from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia's international border, and preparing to carry out military operations.
The degrees of verification were available through the ground sources and electronic monitoring operations, which confirmed the presence of (gatherings of Al-Houthi Armed militia fighters with motorcycles, weapons and ammunition hidden under trees) in vacant lands, in (Marran) area in (Haydan) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, and their readiness to carry out an offensive operation on the Coalition Corces sites, based on rule (16) of customary international humanitarian law, which is considered to be a legitimate military target, that achieves a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian Law.
Accordingly, the Coalition Forces at (07:52) am on (13/09/2018), carried out an air mission on two legitimate military targets (gatherings of Al-Houthi Armed militia fighters with motorcycles, weapons and ammunition hidden under trees) in vacant lands, in (Marran) area of (Haydan) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, using guided bombs that hit their targets.
The Coalition Forces have taken the possible precautions to avoid accidental loss or damage to civilian and civilian objects, or in any case, minimize it to the lowest possible, by the following:
1. Using guided bombs which commensurate with the size of the targets.
2. Ensuring no civilian nor civilian objects at the military target site before and during the targeting, based on article (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rules (15) and (17) of customary international humanitarian law.
By studying the satellite images of military targets site, JIAT found the following:
1. The first target on top of a mountain, and there were no traces of damage to civilian objects in the target area resulting from air strikes.
2. The on the second target close to a dirt road, and there were no traces of damage to civilian objects in the target area resulting from air strikes.
3. Satellite images after the date of the claim, indicated that there were no damages caused by an air strikes on buildings within (500) meters radius of military targets.
By studying the video posted in open sources, JIAT found the following:
1. The smoke shown in the video does not match the blast caused by aerial bombs.
2. The extent of the damage shown in the video on the house in claim, does not correspond to the extent of the damage caused by aerial bombs.
3. No signs of burning on the roofs, walls and wooden bars, on the (house) of the claim.
In light of that JIAT found the following:
1. The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military targets (gatherings of Al-Houthi Armed militia fighters with motorcycles, weapons and ammunition hidden under trees) in vacant land, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.
2. Coalition Forces did not target a (house) in (Marran) area of (Haydan) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate on (13/09/2018) as claimed.
With regard to what was stated in the report issued by Physicians Human Rights in (march 2020), entitled (Attacks by the parties to the conflict on the health sector in Yemen), which included that on (02/09/2015) Coalition Forces targeted the health center in (Kitaf and Al-Baqa'a) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, the attack partially destroyed the center and the surrounding area.
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, video recordings of the executed mission, satellite images, Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL), coordinates provided by the representative of the legitimate Yemeni government in JIAT for the centers and hospitals contained in the report, the website of the National Information Center in Yemen which contains the health centers and hospitals in Yemen, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the (Kitaf Health Center) of the claim is one of the medical centers mentioned on the official website of the Yemeni National Information Center designated for health centers and hospitals in Yemen, and is located in (Kitaf) city of (Sa'da) governorate, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).
By studying the Coalition Forces air missions carried out on (02/09/2015) which is the day of the claim, JIAT found that the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (47) km away from (Kitaf Health Center) of the claim.
By studying the daily mission schedule carried out by the Coalition Forces the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. On (01/09/2015) the day before the date of the claim, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target, (1,100) meters away from (Kitaf Health Center) of the claim.
2. On (03/09/2015) the day after the date of the claim, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target, (35) km away from (Kitaf Health Center) of the claim.
By studying the satellite images by the JIAT specialists for (Kitaf Health Center) site after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. (Kataf Health Center) consists of a building and its accessories inside a wall.
2. No signs of aerial targeting on (Kitaf Health Center) building and the surrounding area in the date of the claim.
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target (Kitaf Health Center) in (Kitaf and Al-Baqa'a) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate on (02/09/2015) as claimed.
--SPA
19:23 LOCAL TIME 16:23 GMT
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