JIAT Spokesman Holds Press Conference 3

Wednesday 1440/5/10 - 2019/01/16
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Regarding the allegation that the Coalition Air Forces bombed the Medicins Sans Frontiers's (MSF) (Cholera Treatment Center) in (Abs) city, (Hajjah) governorate. Regarding the statement by MSF on June 13th 2018, that Coalition Forces bombed the (Cholera Treatment Center) on June 11th 2018. Stating "On the morning of Monday June 11, 2018, the Cholera Treatment Center of MSF was bombarded in (Abs) city, (Hajjah) governorate by the Coalition Air Forces, Which threatened the safety of our crew, and would like to stop any military operations so that our staff can access the site and assess the damages." The Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) has vetted the incident, and following verification of all related documents; including the Daily Mission Schedule, After Mission Reports, Video of the mission carried out, and the statements of those involved in the military operation carried out by the Coalition Forces at the time and place of the allegation, procedures and Rules of Engagement, coalition's (No Strike List), Messages on (plans and timing of the organization's field movements), the meeting with a delegation from (MSF). JIAT also evaluated the actions taken to verify the information that was related on in targeting process, including the assessment of the reliability of the intelligence sources. JIAT found that based on intelligence from inside of Yemen, a warehouse was used by the armed Houthi militia as a storehouse for weapons and ammunition (rockets, medium arms and ammunition). The warehouse is located in an isolated area, (50) kilometers away from Saudi Arabia International Border which bosses a threat to Saudi Arabia. Thus, according to Article (52/2) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, the warehouse was considered at the time to be a legitimate military target, which in its destruction is a military advantage. Therefore, at (5:45 am) on Monday June 11th, 2018 the Coalition Air Forces carried out an air mission on an arms and ammunition storage using one guided bomb that directly hit its target. JIAT examined the video of the mission and after analyzing images received from MSF and comparing information and data with the organization's messages about their location and stages of movement, JIAT found that:
1- The warehouse is in the north of (Abs) city, (Hajjah) governorate, about (50) km away from the international borders of Saudi Arabia, outside the urban area in an isolated area under the Armed Houthi Militias control.
2- MSF stated that it had informed the Coalition Forces about the site (12) times through letters of the organization's movements. After returning to these letters, JIAT did not find any request to include the site in the list of the organization's sites to be placed in the (no-strike list), and that these messages relate to the organization's movements inside Yemen, which contained specific locations including the location of the prosecution within a specified time window.
3- MSF mentioned that its last presence on the site was on June 9th 2018, two days prior to the incident, and their presence in site was to transfer a cargo of equipment. Referring to the moves incoming messages from the organization to the evacuation and humanitarian operations unit, JIAT did not find any request to secure movements of the organization in that area on June 9th, 2018.
4- JIAT examined all the available evidence regarding the military operation carried out by the Coalition Air Forces, and It became clear that the mission was based on information from a source inside Yemen, and that it did not complete the necessary procedures used by the Coalition Forces.
5- JIAT reviewed the satellite imagery of the site on December 1st , 2017, and on April 3rd , 2018, (before the mission), and it was not clear to JIAT that there were any signs of distinction (Medical Facility) on the roof of the warehouses nor on the roof of buildings inside the complex (Industrial Technical Institute) in (Abs) city, (Hajjah) governorate. This is a violation to Article (5) of Chapter II of the Annex to Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions.
6- By reviewing the video of the mission carried out JIAT found that:
A- No sign of (Medical Facility) on the roof of the warehouses nor on the roof of buildings inside the complex.
B- The target area was free from any movement of (civilian and vehicles) prior and during the operation.
C- One guided bomb was used which hit its target directly.
D- No damage was found on warehouses close to the target.
7- JIAT reviewed the satellite imagery of the operation on June 30, 2018, (19) days after the date of targeting, JIAT found that:
A- Two (Medical Facility) signs are over two warehouses next to the targeted warehouse.
B- No major damages on the warehouses and buildings adjacent to the site.
8- MSF did not inform the Coalition Forces that the alleged warehouse was a facility of the organization to be included in the (no-strike list), which violates Article 12 (3) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Nevertheless, MSF stated that the building was a point of movement for a period of time that ended before the executed mission.
9- Due to the urgency in carrying out the task and not completing the procedures by the Coalition Forces intelligence, the targeting of the building was an unintended error.
In light of that, JIAT recommends that:
A- Coalition States provide voluntary assistance for physical damages to the warehouse.
B- Taking legal procedures against those responsible for the urgency in carrying out the mission, which resulted from a procedural error and not to complete the necessary procedures by the Coalition Forces intelligence.
C- emphasize the International organizations to notifying Coalition Forces of their locations in a clear and accurate manner as well as notification of their movements.
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21:52 LOCAL TIME 18:52 GMT
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