Joint Incidents Assessment Team in Yemen Refutes a Number of Claims Raised by Global Bodies and International Organizations

Riyadh, Official Spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen Legal Counsellor Mansour Al-Mansour has 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 inside Yemen.
In a press conference held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Riyadh today, Al-Mansour reviewed the results of assessing four incidents included in those claims as follows:
With regard to what was received by (JIAT), that a man and his family were displaced from (Haradh) directorate in (Hajjah) governorate, and he and his family lived in tents in (Al-Hayja) area, the man was a driver of a (Toyota Hilux) public transport vehicle between (Sa’da) and (Hajjah), on (26/12/2018), the man arrived at the tent around midnight and stopped the vehicle under a tree, a few hours later at about (03:30) am, an air strike hit the man’s tents and his family, the aircraft flew over the target site, and later a second air strike destroyed the small vehicle.
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, satellite images, recordings of the surveillance and reconnaissance system, JIAT visit to the operations centres and related field units, 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 coordinate of the claim is located in (Al-Hayja) village in (Mustaba) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate.
By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces on (26/12/2018) which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions in (Mustaba) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, and that the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was in (Haradh) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate, (30) kms away from the claimed location, using one guided bomb that hit its target.
By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. On (25/12/2018) the day before the claimed date, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (6400) meters away from the location of the claim, using one guided bomb that hit its target.
2. On (27/12/2018) the day after the claimed date, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (6500) meters away from the location of the claim, using one guided bomb that hit its target.
JIAT specialists studied the satellite images of the claimed coordinate, the following was found:
The coordinate of the claim is located in (Al-Hayja) village.
No signs of an aerial targeting at the claimed location.
By Comparing the allegation with the air mission carried out on the day of the claim, JIAT found the following:
The mission carried out by Coalition Forces is (30) kms away from the claimed location.
The claim stated that the targeting took place at (3:30) am, while the air mission was carried out at (1:24) pm.
The air mission carried out by Coalition Forces used one bomb, while the claim stated the it was two bombs.
The military target is located (Haradh) directorate, while the claimed location is in (Mustaba) directorate.
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target a (tent) and a (vehicle) in (Al-Hayja) area in (Mustaba) directorate of (Hajjah) governorate as claimed.
With regard to the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Reports of the High Commission and the Secretary-General issued on (03 September 2019), which includes that on (17/09/2017) at (3:00) pm a school in (Baqim) district of (Sa’da) was struck and destroyed by a Coalition airstrike, the school was being used as a prison by the Houthis.
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, open sources, the website of the National Information Center in Yemen which contains the educational centers 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 Coalition Forces received intelligence information about several locations used by Al-Houthi armed militia as (military camps and depots), of those was a location containing a building, which was seized by Al-Houthi armed militia in (Baqim), and are using it as a military camp to gather elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, then to the fighting front lines.
The degrees of verification were available through the ground sources, which confirmed that Al-Houthi armed militia seized the location, in (Baqim) of (Sa’da) governorate, and are using it as a military camp to gather elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, then to the fighting front lines, based on rule (16) of customary international humanitarian law, which is considered to be a legitimate military target, that the targeting of it would achieve a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, as the legal protection of the civilian objects lost for using it to contribute effectively to military actions, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian Law.
Therefore, at (2:20) pm on (17/09/2017), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target, a location containing a building, in (Baqim) directorate of (Sa’da) governorate, that was seized by Al-Houthi armed militia, and are using it as a military camp to gather elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, then to the fighting front lines, using guided bombs that hit its target.
The Coalition Forces took the possible precautions to avoid accidental loss or damage to civilian and civilian objects, or in any case, minimize it to the lowest possible, during the planning and execution of the military operation through the following:
1. Ensuring no civilian presence before and during the targeting.
2. Using guided bombs which commensurate with the size of the target.
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 allegation with the air mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
The school of the claim is called (Al-Fath school) based on the website of the National Information Center in Yemen which contains the educational centers in Yemen.
Coalition Forces have not been informed by any official party that it is being used as a (prison).
The location and description of the military target matches the claimed site.
JIAT specialists studied the satellite images of the military target site, and the following was found:
The (building) is located in a secluded area in (Baqim) directorate of (Sa’da) governorate, (12) km from Saudi Arabia’s international border.
The military target is a location containing a building inside a fence.
Signs of aerial targeting were observed.
By studying the after mission report of the mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
No civilians were observed before and during the targeting.
Guided bombs were used, which hit their target.
By studying the video recordings of the mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
No civilians were observed before and during the targeting.
The aim was on the military target the (building).
The bombs hit the specified aim point of the military target.
In light of that: JIAT found the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target a location containing a building that was seized by Al-Houthi armed militia, and used as a military camp to gather elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, then to the fighting front lines, in (Baqim) directorate of (Sa’da) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.
With regard to:
1. What was observed by JIAT in the open sources that at (8:00) a.m. on Tuesday (29/05/2018), Coalition Forces aircraft launched two air raids targeting two trucks loaded with goods, as they passed the highway in (Shanin Al-Qubbah) area in (Al-Makhader) directorate of (Ibb) governorate, which was destined to unload its load of aluminium and paint materials for (S. Commercial) stores, the two trucks were owned by (H.A.D), the raids resulted in the death of the (driver of one of the tankers), the two trucks were destroyed, and caught fire which destroyed all the commercial cargo it was carrying.
2. What was observed by JIAT in the open sources about the complaint filed by the Yemeni firm (G.T.) agents of (Jazeera Paints) company, that two trucks loaded with paint, belonging to the firm were bombed on (29/05/2018), while arriving on the ring road of (Ibb) governorate, resulting in the burning of the trucks with their loads, and demanding compensation for the firm in (lives, equipment and cargo).
3. The e-mail from the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on Yemen, regarding an air strike that bombed (two trucks) on (29/05/2018) carrying paint and aluminium near (Shenin) village in (Al-Makhader) directorate of (Ibb) governorate, causing the death of two drivers.
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, Saudi Customs statement, meeting of owners of the trucks and taking the statements of the drivers, open sources, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences, JIAT found that Coalition Forces received intelligence information about a military target consisting of (two trucks carrying missiles, explosives, and ammunitions) on specific coordinate in (Ibb) governorate, which is considered to be a legitimate military target, that the targeting of it would achieve a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, as the legal protection of the civilian objects the (two trucks) lost for using it to contribute effectively to military actions, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian Law.
Therefore, at (8:00) am on (29/05/2018), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target, (two trucks carrying missiles, explosives, and ammunitions) on specific coordinate in (Al-Makhader) directorate of (Ibb) governorate, using (2) guided bombs.
The Coalition Forces took the possible precautions to avoid accidental loss or damage to civilian and civilian objects, or in any case, minimize it to the lowest possible, during the planning and execution of the military operation through the following:
1. Ensuring no civilian presence before and during the targeting.
2. Using guided bombs which commensurate with the size of the target.
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 after mission report of the mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
1. The executing air formation was directed by the (Forward Air Controller) to search in a specific coordinate, but the air formation did not spot any truck.
2. The air formation spotted two trucks in the vicinity of the location given by the Forward Air Controller heading west, matching the description that was given to him, he reported that to the authority and received the permission for targeting.
By studying the video recordings of the mission carried out, JIAT found the following:
The air formation searched the target area and spotted two trucks on a pave road, which is the road linking (Ibb) city and (AL-Makhader), heading in the same direction, about (100) meters apart.
No other civilians or civilian cars were observed before and during the targeting.
The first bomb hit a moving truck and was a direct hit.
4. The second truck stopped after targeting the truck in front of it, and the driver escaped.
5. The second bomb hit the second parked truck and was direct hit.
6. No secondary explosions were observed after the targeting.
JIAT specialists studied the satellite images of the military target location, and the following was found:
(Al-Makhader) directorate is located in the north of (Ibb) governorate.
The two trucks were targeted on the road linking (Al-Makhader) directorate with (Ibb) city of (Ibb) governorate.
The location of the trucks in claim corresponds to the targeting location of the coalition forces.
JIAT specialists studied what was mentioned in the open sources, and the following was found:
Signs of air targeting was found on the first truck.
The trailer of the first truck was loaded with pipes and plates, and no paint drums were found.
Signs of air targeting was found on the second truck.
The trailer of the second truck was loaded with paint drums, and some part of it was burned.
Signs of white material at the targeting area of the second truck.
By studying the statements of the owners and drivers of the trucks, JIAT found the following:
1. The owner of the first truck, (M.M.S.H.), a Saudi national, stated that the truck left Saudi Arabia for Yemen and was driven by a Yemeni national driver, the truck was loaded with paint, and was heading from (Khamis Mushait) city of Saudi Arabia to Yemen.
2. The driver of the first truck, (A.S.H.), a Yemeni national, stated that the trailer of the truck was delivered to another truck driven by a Yemeni driver at a specific location inside Yemen, to deliver the cargo to its destination and return the trailer to the designated location within Yemeni territory, the trailer returned to the site and was received from the Yemeni driver without damage, he also stated that the truck entered Saudi Arabia through (Al-Wadeeah) border port, and was intact and carrying on its tailer the targeted trailer.
3. The owner of the second truck, (A.M.A.H.), a Saudi national, stated that the truck left Saudi Arabia for Yemen and was driven by a Yemeni national driver, the truck loaded with paint, which was heading from (Khamis Mushait) city of Saudi Arabia to Yemen.
4. The driver of the second truck, (M.A.S.H.) a Yemeni national, stated that the trailer of the truck was delivered to another truck driven by a Yemeni driver in a specific location inside Yemen, to deliver the cargo to its destination and return the trailer to the designated location within Yemeni territory, he also stated that the driver informed him that the trailer was targeted in (Ibb) governorate, and that he escaped from the truck after seeing the targeting of the truck in front of him, and that he was not injured, he also stated that he returned driving only the truck to Saudi Arabia through (Al-Wadeeah) border port, while the damaged trailer was loaded onto the trailer of the other truck.
By comparing the statements of the owners and drivers of the trucks with the statement of the Saudi customs and the open sources, JIAT found the following:
1. On Friday (19/05/2018), two trucks departed (Al-Wadeeah) border port carrying paints as follows:
(a) The first truck with plate number (specified), carrying paints, owned by (M.M.S.H.), a Saudi national.
(b) The second truck, with plate number (specified), carrying paints, owned by (A.M.A.H.), a Saudi national.
2. The entry of the two trucks to Saudi Arabia was on Tuesday (26/06/2018), the first truck entered without its trailer, while its damaged trailer was loaded on the trailer of the second truck.
3. The inaccuracy of the open sources statement, that the two trucks owned by (G.T.) firm were targeted, destroying them and their cargo, as only one truck trailer owned by the firm was found to have been damaged, and the two drivers were safe.
4. The inaccuracy of the open sources statement, that the two trucks belong to the (H.A.D.) were targeted, as one of the targeted trucks was found to be owned by (M.M.S.H.), a Saudi national.
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces accidentally targeted two trucks by unintentional error, on (29/05/2018) in (Al-Makhader) directorate of (Ibb) governorate, due to inaccuracy in highly identification of the military target, which was similar in description to the military target (two trucks carrying rockets, explosives and ammunition) that were in the same area and in the same time range.
JIAT recommends the following:
Accountability of the (Forward Air Controller) for breaching the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, due to inaccuracy in highly identification of the military target.
It is appropriate for Coalition states to provide assistance for human and material damages caused by an accidental targeting of two trucks, due to inaccuracy in highly identification of the military target.
With regard to the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Reports of the High Commission and the Secretary-General issued on (03 September 2019), which includes that on (26 April 2015), (Al-Thawrah Hospital) which is located in the northeast of (Taiz) city, suffered damages to various parts of the hospital building and the staff quarters, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including air tasking orders, daily mission schedule, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, daily missions of the Coalition Surface Forces, 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 east side of (Taiz) city, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).
By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces on (26/04/2015) which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target in a specified coordinate, in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and is (900) meters away from (Al-Thawrah Hospital) of the claimed, using guided bombs that hit their target.
By studying the air mission carried out by the Coalition Forces the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1. On (25/04/2015) the day before the date of the claim, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target in (Taiz) governorate, (7000) meters away from the (Al-Thawrah Hospital) of the claim.
2. On (27/04/2015) the day after the date of the claim, Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions in (Taiz) governorate.
By studying the daily missions carried out by the Coalition Surface Forces on (26/04/2015), which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Surface Forces did not carry out any firing in (Taiz) governorate.
JIAT specialists studied the satellite images of the claimed site (Al-Thawrah Hospital), the following was found:
1. No signs of aerial targeting damages on Hospital buildings.
2. The distance between the nearest military target of the Coalition Forces and (Al-Thawrah Hospital) of the claim, is safe and outside the range of potential side effects.
In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces is not responsible for the damages occurred to (Al-Thawrah Hospital) buildings, in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate on (26/04/2015) as claimed.

 

Source: Saudi Press Agency

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