A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the claim that the coalition forces targeted a building complex that was previously (a community college) in (Dhamar) on (31/08/2019)

With regard to what was stated in:

1. The joint statement issued by the Special Envoy, the Resident Coordinator, and the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen at the United Nations issued on (01/09/2019), that air strikes hit a building complex that was previously a community college in the northern suburbs of the city of (Dhamar), and approximately (170) prisoners were in the compound, initial reports indicated that about (60) people were killed and (50) others were injured.

2. Amnesty International issued on (02/09/2019) that an air strike launched by the Coalition Forces destroyed a complete detention center in which (170) detainees were present, killing most of them.

JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including Procedures And Rules Of Engagement, Air Task Order, 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, based on the availability of reliable intelligence information to the Coalition Forces, confirmed through monitoring by the air reconnaissance systems for the buildings complex (formerly Community College) in the city of (Dhamar), which was seized by Al-Houthi armed militia, and used to store drones and air defence missile, the observation also showed the presence of military vehicles belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia in the same location, which is considered to be a legitimate high-value military target that its destruction would achieve a military advantage according to Article (52), paragraph (2) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

The availability of degrees of verification through the reconnaissance system of the Coalition Forces based on customary rule No. (16) of the International Humanitarian Law, showed Al-Houthi armed militia taking over a compound (formerly the Community College) and using it to store drones and air defence missile, and the presence of military vehicles to support the war effort and effective contribution to military actions, and accordingly, the complex (formerly Community College) lost its legal protection for civilian objects, in accordance with Article (52) paragraph (3) of the first additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

Accordingly, in the late night of Saturday (31/08/ 2019), the Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on (drones stores, air defence missile stores, and military vehicles) in a building complex.

The Coalition Forces also took all feasible precautions to avoid accidental loss of or damage to civilian objects, or to reduce them in any case to a minimum, by ensuring that no civilians were present before and during the targeting, and choosing the appropriate timing of targeting, late at night to ensure limited movement around the site, using guided bombs commensurate with the size of the target, as well as ensuring that the side effects of weapons stored on the site do not reach civilian objects as they are a safe distance within the (compound), according to Article (57) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and customary rule (15) and (17) Of International Humanitarian Law.

By reviewing the satellite imagery, as well as studying the documents of the Coalition Forces and watching the targeting video of the military target, the following was found:

1. The claimed location was formerly a (Community College), located in the city of (Dhamar) in an isolated area from the buildings, south of the city of (Sanaa).

2. No residential buildings adjacent to the target complex (formerly Community College).

3. The Coalition Forces were not aware of the use of a building in the compound as a detention site, and therefore the site was not on the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).

4. No emblems on any of the buildings of the site of the claim (the former Community College) to distinguish it as a concentration camp (IC), according to Article (83) of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

5. No civilians were present around the site before and during the targeting.

In light of that, JIAT reached the following:

1. The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (drones armouries, air defence missile armouries, and military vehicles) in a building complex (formerly Community College) which was captured by Al-Houthi armed militia were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

2. It is appropriate for humanitarian considerations that the coalition countries to provide humanitarian assistance to those detainees who have been proven to have been harmed, as a result of targeting the legitimate military target.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

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