Riyadh - SPA
Joint Incidents Assessment Team issues a statement regarding allegations against Coalition Forces

The 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, international organizations and media outlets on errors allegedly committed by the Coalition Forces for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen during their military operations inside Yemen.

In a press conference held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Riyadh, Al-Mansour reviewed today the results of assessing four incidents included in those claims as follows:

A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the claim that (a military vehicle) of Al-Houthi armed militia was targeted in front of a restaurant in (Zabid) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate on (03/01/2018)

With regard to what was stated in the letter of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, that on (03/01/2018) eight civilians were killed and eight more injured, by an airstrike of the Coalition Forces while targeting Al-Houthi armed militia vehicle parked in front of a restaurant in (Zabid) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate.

The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, satellite images, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that on the claim date (03/01/2018), the Coalition Forces did not carry out any aerial missions in (Zabid) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, and that the nearest military target that was targeted by the Coalition Forces on the date of the claim is located in (Al-Khokhah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, about (41) km away from the (Zabid) directorate.

After studying the daily mission schedule for the previous day and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:

1. On (02/01/2018) the day before the date of the claim, Coalition Forces did not carry out any aerial missions in (Zabid) directorate, and that the closest aerial mission was on a military target in (Al-Khokhah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, about 30 km away from the (Zabid) directorate.

2. On (04/01/2018) the day after the date of the claim, Coalition Forces did not carry out any aerial missions in (Zabid) directorate, and that the closest mission was on a military target in (Hais) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, about (35) km away from the (Zabid) directorate.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target (a military vehicle) parked in front of (a restaurant) on (03/01/2018) in (Zabid) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate as claimed.

A statement issued by the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the claim that the Coalition Forces targeted the (Mothalath Ahim) market in (Hajjah) Governorate on (04/07/2015)

With regard to what is stated in:

1. Human Rights Watch report issued in (November 2015), that at (22:00) on (04/07/2015) the Coalition Forces bombed (Mothalath Ahim) market, the air strike destroyed at least (6) buildings, including a 4-storey building, which contains Sanaa restaurant, a store, a hotel, a water truck, and a car in front of the building, Human Rights Watch visited the site on (24/07/2015), and spoke with a number of eyewitnesses, one of whom reported that a few hours ago an air strike hit a gas station, and an hour later an air strike hit a football field, and at the same time a strike hit an vacant building (2) km away, the airstrike on (Mothalath Ahim) resulted in the death of (65) civilians and wounded of (105), attached to the report is a statement of names and ages, of (17) dead and (2) wounded.

2. The statement issued by the Doctors Without Borders organization (MSF) on (07/07/2015), which states that a series of air strikes targeted a crowded market on Saturday evening (04/07/2015), the attack killed (20) people, (9) bodies were recovered the next day from under the rubble, and the attack on the market called (Mothalath Ahim) began at about (8:30) when an air strike hit a gas station, half an hour later another attack targeted the heart of the crowded market and hit two restaurants and a hotel.

3. The report of the (Belling Cat) website issued on (24/04/2019) that on (04/07/2015) an air strike occurred in the center of (Mothalath Ahim) near restaurants and a water truck, and open sources videos indicate a number of civilian casualties.

The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, video recordings of the mission, satellite images, interviewing and hearing the statements of those concerned, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the claimed site (Mothalath Ahim) is located (16) km from the international borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and at the time of the military operation was under the control of Al-Houthi armed militia and the former President's forces, and it became a center used by Al-Houthi armed militia and the former president forces to reinforce their forces, in preparation for the implementation of the operation to invade the international borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, civilians have been displaced from the claimed area to other regions due to the intensity of military operations in and out of the site.

(intelligence reports, monitoring and reconnaissance) stated the storage of (a ballistic missile inside a hangar) in a semi-isolated location, (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia and the former President's forces, and military vehicles) are at the claimed site (Mothalath Ahim), which is considered to be a legitimate military target, based on Article (52), Paragraph (2) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

The availability of degrees of verification (monitoring, surveillance, and reconnaissance) confirmed the presence of a ballistic missile in (a hangar), and radar transmissions of (SAM2) and (SAM3) missiles were observed near the targeted site, and gatherings and vehicles belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia and elements of the former President's forces, for the purpose of effective participation in military actions, based on rule No. (16) of the customary International Humanitarian Law.

The legal protection of the civilian objects (a hangar containing a ballistic missile) was lost, and it became a legitimate military target for the use of it by Al-Houthi armed militia and the former President's forces, for the purpose of effectively contributing to military actions to support the war effort based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

On Saturday, (04/07/2015) at (8:45) pm, Coalition Forces targeted (a ballistic missile inside a hangar) using one guided bomb that hit its target. the Coalition Forces also at (9:40) pm on the same day, targeted (gatherings of elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former President's forces, and military vehicles) on a specific location, using one guided bomb that hit its target.

The Coalition Forces have taken all feasible precautions by studying and defining the target's environment, using of a guided bomb that commensurate with the target, and minimizing of collateral damage to a minimum, while achieving the desired military advantage of the military operation carried out, based on rule No. (17) of the customary international humanitarian law.

After studying the video recordings of the executed air missions, the satellite images, and the pictures published in the open source, JIAT found the following:

(1) Traces of the effects of air targeting on (a hangar containing a ballistic missile).

(2) The targeting of gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former President’s forces, and military vehicles in a specific location on the other side of the road across the building of the claim.

(3) The vicinity of the military target (gathering of Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former President's forces, and military vehicles) was free of civilian vehicles.

(4) After the bomb was dropped on the military target, a water truck appeared, which was not present before and during the start of the targeting, then entered the vicinity of the military target after the launch of the bomb, which caused collateral damage to it.

(5) No traces of air targeting effects on the buildings surrounding the bomb site, including the building that contains (Sanaa restaurant).

(6) Collateral damage to the building, located at the other side of the military target (gatherings belonging to the armed Houthi militia, elements of the former President's forces, and military vehicles) as a result of the air blast.

(7) Invalidity of what a witness reported about witnessing (3) air strikes, as it was proven to JIAT through studying of all air operations carried out by the Coalition Forces on the date of the claim, that they carried out (2) operations only on legitimate military targets, the first was (a ballistic missile inside a hangar), and the second was on (a gathering of elements from Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former president's forces, and military vehicles).

(8) JIAT did not notice the existence of a market (by description and nature), intelligence reports, as well as some reports published in open sources, confirmed that the area at that time was a stronghold by Al-Houthi armed militia, and under their control, reports also described that the sufferers as young men, and there were no women or children among them.

In light of that, JIAT found that the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (a ballistic missile inside a hangar), and (a gathering of elements from Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former president's forces, and military vehicles) were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules

JIAT sees that it is appropriate for the Coalition States to provide assistance for collateral damage the building which is located across the road west of the military target (a gathering of elements from Al-Houthi armed militia, elements of the former president's forces, and military vehicles), as well as for the damage to the water truck that was not within the circle of collateral damage before and during the initial phase of targeting, and was affected due to suddenly entering the vicinity of the military target.

With regard to what was stated in the statement of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen on (11 March 2019), regarding attacks on homes in the (Kushar) directorate that killed (22) people, including (12) children and 10 women, during the previous two days (09-10/03/2019), and what was stated in the seventh report of National Committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Yemen for the period from (01/02/2019) to (31/07/2019) that at (5:30) pm on (10/03/2019) A house belonging to the (B.H.) family was bombed in (Talan Village) in the (Kushar) directorate with a missile, killing (10) people and wounding (12) others, the attack also caused terror among the residents and some of them left their homes to the mountain, among the escaping families (A.Z.), which resulted in targeting them with another missile, causing the death of (11) and wounding (6) women and children.

The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, video recordings of the mission, video recording of the reconnaissance system, satellite images, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that on Saturday (09/03/2019), Al-Houthi armed militia stormed (Jabal Talan) in (Kushar) directorate, and deployed their fighters to control it, and was in direct clashes with the tribes that are loyal to the legitimate government and are supported by the Coalition Forces directly by air support, one of the Coalition Forces units detected a vehicle carrying Al-Houthi armed militia fighters through the reconnaissance system, that was also confirmed by the ground elements, where they got out of that vehicle and entered a building in (Jabal Talan), which is considered to be a legitimate military target that the destruction of it would achieve a military advantage based on Article (52), paragraph (2) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rule No. (8) of the customary International Humanitarian Law.

The availability of degrees of verification through the ground sources of the legitimate forces that (the building) contains elements of Al-Houthi armed militia in (Jabal Talan) in (Kushar) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, based on the rule No. (16) of the customary international humanitarian law.

The legal protection for civilian objects (the building) lost due to its use by Al-Houthi armed militia effectively to support the military actions, in accordance with Article (52), of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

Accordingly, at (10:30) pm Saturday (09/03/2019), the Coalition Forces, at the request of the Yemeni legitimate forces, carried out a mission (air support) on a target consisting of (a building in which members of Al-Houthi armed militia were present) in (Jabal Talan) in (Kushar) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, using one guided bomb that hit its target.

By reviewing the data related to the claim and analysing the facts, JIAT found that (Kushar) directorate is located in the western part of (Hajjah) governorate, which is a high mountainous area, (Jabal Talan) is an area of clashes between tribes loyal to the legitimate government and Al-Houthi armed militia, the targeted (building) is located within the combat zone, and is about (50) km from the nearest border sign with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Coalition Forces used one guided bomb that hit its target, and have taken all feasible precautions to avoid accidental loss of or damage to civilian objects, or to reduce them in any event to a minimum, by ensuring that ground sources confirm that no civilians were in the targeted building before targeting, and that no movement of civilians at the target site before and during the targeting, in accordance with Article No. (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rule No. (17) of the customary international humanitarian law.

By studying the post-targeting satellite imagery, JIAT found the following:

1. The military target (building) used by Al-Houthi armed militia fighters in claim is located on the top of (Jabal Talan).

2. Traces of an aerial attack on the legitimate military target (the building) used by Al-Houthi armed militia fighter of the claim.

By reviewing the video recording of the targeting JIAT found the following:

1. The targeting was exactly on the military target (building contains Al-Houthi armed militia fighters).

2. The bomb hit on the desired point of impact of the military target (building contains Al-Houthi armed militia fighters).

The video recording of the reconnaissance system showed the following:

1. A group of (Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) were observed moving toward the building until they enter inside it.

2. The bomb hit the military target (building contains Al-Houthi armed militia fighters).

3. A post-targeting photography of the building, which showed no damage to the surrounding buildings.

In light of that, JIAT found that the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (building contains Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) in (Jabal Talan) in (Kosher) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the claim that (a house) was targeted in (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate on (22/04/2018)

With regard to what was stated in the note issued on (24/04/2018) by the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to Yemen, that an air strike was launched by the Coalition Forces around (2:00) pm on Sunday (22/04/2018), in the (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, they hit a civilian house, killing all five members of the family, including three children and a woman, our staff members were told that the victims were having lunch inside their house when a missile landed directly on the house in an area called (Al-Haddouriya), family neighbours told UN human rights staff that they had seen fighter planes in the area just before the accident.

The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, video recordings of the mission, satellite images, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces observed (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements, and a ballistic missile launcher) in the area of ??operations, hidden in an isolated area and free of buildings and civilian objects in (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, therefore, the Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on two targets at (2:02) pm on Sunday (22/04/2018), which consists of (a ballistic missile launcher, and gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements) in (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, which is considered to be a legitimate military target that the destruction of it would achieve a military advantage based on Article (52), paragraph (2) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rule No. (8) of the customary International Humanitarian Law.

The availability of degrees of verification through monitoring operations, which confirmed the presence of a (ballistic missile launcher, and gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements) in (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, based on rule No. (16) of the customary International Humanitarian Law.

The Coalition Forces used two guided bombs that commensurate with the size and type of the target, and took all feasible precautions to avoid accidental loss of or damage to civilian objects, or to reduce them in any event to a minimum, by ensuring that no civilian objects and civilian personnel were present at the targeted site before and during targeting, in accordance with article (57) of First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rule No. (17) of the customary international humanitarian law.

By studying and analysing of the post-targeting satellite imagery, and video recordings of the task carried out JIAT found the following:

1. The military target (a ballistic missile launcher, and gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements) is located in an area that is isolated area and free of buildings.

2. The bombs fell on their specific targets (a ballistic missile launcher) hidden in an isolated area, free of buildings and civilian objects, and (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements).

3. No civilian objects and civilian personnel were in or near the target sites before and during the targeting.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target a civilian (house) in (Midi) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate as claimed, and that the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (a ballistic missile launcher) and (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia elements) were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

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