JIAT refutes number of claims regarding incidents in Yemen

The official spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen Legal Counselor Mansour Al-Mansour refuted a number of claims raised by global bodies and international organizations on errors allegedly committed by the Coalition Forces to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen during their military operations in Yemen.

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

A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the targeting of (Al-Amal Cancer tumors Hospital) in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate on (24/10/2020) with regard to:

1. The statement issued by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen on (Oct. 26, 2020), entitled (Strike targeting a hospital in Taiz), which included that on (Oct. 24, 2020), a strike targeting (Al-Amal cancer tumors Hospital) in (Taiz) directorate injuring two health care workers and damaging the facility.

2. What was observed by JIAT in the open sources, that Al-Amal Cancer tumors Hospital in (Taiz) city was targeted on (24/10/2020).

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, open sources, 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-Amal Hospital) is located in the eastern side of (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, consist of a building complex surrounded by main streets, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).

By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces on (24/10/2020), which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and that the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (245) kms away fromthe location of the claim.

By studying the daily mission schedule carried out by the Coalition Forces one day before and one day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:

1. On (23/10/2020) the day before the claimed date, Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions in in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and that the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (195) kms away from (Al-Amal Hospital) of the claim.

2. On (25/10/2020) the day after the claimed date, Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions in in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate, and that the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (225) kms away from (Al-Amal Hospital) of the claim.

JIAT specialists studied the satellite images of the claimed site (Al-Amal Hospital), after the date of the claim, no signs of areal targeting were found on (Al-Amal Hospital) building.

JIAT specialists studied the photos and videos published in the media, the following was found:

1. Signs of damages caused by trajectories on the front side of (Al-Amal Hospital).

2. Traces of gun shots on the front side of (Al-Amal Hospital).

By studying the daily missions carried out by the Coalition Surface Forces on (24/10/2020), JIAT found that the Coalition Surface Forces did not carry out any firing in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate. In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces is not responsible for the targeting of (Al-Amal Hospital), in (Taiz) city of (Taiz) governorate as claimed.

A statement issued by the JIAT regarding the allegation that Coalition Forces targeted a (group of female shepherds and the first responders) in (AlQutinat) area in (Bagim) directorate of (Saada) governorate on (05/02/2018).

With regard to what was received by (JIAT), that on (05/02/2018) at around (09:30) a.m. an airstrike hit a group of female shepherds, all under 15 years old, the shepherds were tending their flock when the strike occurred, sometimes after the first responders (family relatives and people who passed by), the second airstrike took place.

JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, mission execution procedures, after mission reports, satellite images, Close Air Support (CAS) forms, intelligence reports, 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.

After assessment of evidences, JIAT found that at (5:00) a.m. Monday (05/02/2018), two missiles fell very close to the Coalition surface units, (24) km from the international border of Saudi Arabia, and based on monitoring and surveillance operations and intelligence information, the launch site of the missiles was located, which consist of (rocket launcher) and (two vehicles) in an area free of civilian objects in (Bagim) directorate of (Saada) governorate.

The degrees of verification were available through the ground sources that confirmed the existence of a (rocket launcher hidden under a tree) and (two vehicles), on a specified location in (Bagim) directorate of (Saada) governorate, based on rule (16) of customary international humanitarian law.

Which is considered to be a legitimate military target, that targeting of it would achieve 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.

Therefore, at (09:00) a.m. on (05/02/2018), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target a (rocket launcher hidden under a tree) and (two vehicles) belongs to Houthi armed militia parked next to the rocket launcher, which escaped the site after hearing the sound of the aircraft, using two guided bombs, the first of which hit its target (a rocket launcher hidden under a tree), and the second fell in front of the (two vehicles belonging to Houthi armed militia).

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, during the planning and execution of the military operation through the following:

1. Using two guided bombs which commensurate with the size of the target.

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 the military target site by JIAT specialists the following was found:

1. (Al-Qutinat) area in claim is located in (Bagim) directorate of (Saada) governorate, on the road linking the Republic of Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2. The location of the claim is (6.7) kms away from the military target.

3. The first targeting was on a (rocket launcher hidden under a tree) in an isolated valley, in which there are no civilian objects or near it.

4. The second targeting was in front of (two vehicles belonging to Houthi armed militia), besides a paved road, in which there are no civilian objects or near it, and is (550) meters away from the first targeting.

By studying the after-mission report JIAT found the following:

1. The first bomb: on a target (rocket launcher hidden under a tree) at specific location, it hits the target in an area free of civilian objects.

2. The second bomb: On the target (two vehicles belonging to Houthi armed militia), which escaped the site after hearing the sound of the aircraft, in an area free of civilian objects, the bomb hit directly in front of the two vehicles.

In light of that, JIAT reached the following:

1. The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (rocket launcher hidden under a tree) and (two vehicles belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia) in (Bagim) directorate of (Saada) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

2. The Coalition Forces did not target a (group of female shepherds and the first responders) in (Al-Qutinat) area in (Bagim) directorate of (Sa’da) governorate on (05/02/2018) as claimed.

A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the allegation of artillery shells falling in the vicinity of a (Wedding Hall) in (Al-Hook) directorate of (Hodeidah) governorate on (01/01/2021) With regard to:

1. The statement issued by the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and humanitarian coordinator in Yemen on (Jan. 3, 2021) entitled (Three civilians were killed in an attack on Hodeidah), which included that on (Jan. 1, 2021), (3) civilians were killed and at least (4) injured, caused by artillery shells falling in the vicinity of a (Wedding Hall) in (Al-Hook) directorate of (Hodeidah) governorate.

2. What was observed by JIAT in the open sources, that a wedding hall was targeted in (Al-Hook) directorate of (Hodeidah) governorate.

JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents including daily missions of the Coalition Surface Forces, operational reports, intelligence reports, satellite images, 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 the (wedding hall) in claim is called (Al-Mansour wedding hall), and is located on the airport street in (Al Hook) directorate, south east of (Hodeidah) city of (Hodeidah) governorate.

By studying the photos and videos published in the media and the open sources for the claimed sight, by JIAT specialists the following was found:

1. The projectile fell in front of the outer gate of the (wedding hall).

2. A vehicle (mini bus) parked in front of the (wedding hall gate) was damaged, it has broken windows and traces of fragments on the vehicle.

3. The front wall from the entrance to the (wedding hall) is exposed to the effects of small fragments.

By studying the daily missions carried out by the Coalition Surface Forces on (01/01/2021) which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Surface Forces did not carry out any firing in (Hodeidah) city.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces is not responsible for the targeting of the surrounding of a (Wedding Hall) on (01/01/2021) in (Al Hook) directorate of (Hodeidah) city of (Hodeidah) governorate of the claim.

A statement issued by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding the allegation that Coalition Forces targeted the (War Museum) in (Crater) directorate of (Aden) governorate on (15/07/2015) With regard to what was stated in the fourth report of the National Commission of Inquiry into allegations of human rights violations in Yemen for the period from (July 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2018), that the (War Museum) in (Crater) directorate was hit by rocket fire by the Arab Coalition Air Forces, at (11:45 a.m.) on (July 15, 2015) and the missile landed on the corner of the museum, the targeting was due to the presence of a small number of fighters belonging to Houthi Armed Militia, and Saleh Forces at the entrance of the museum, there was no heavy weapons, but they were sniping against the public resistance and citizens in the area of (Crater), as the report concluded through the investigations conducted by the Committee and the testimonies of the witnesses, and the report of the investigator in charge, the main responsibility lies with the Houthi Armed Militia and Saleh forces, where it was proved that they seized the archaeological object as a military compound and use it for the war effort.

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, Close Air Support (CAS) form, 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 legitimate forces and the public resistance requested Close Air Support (CAS) on a military target gatherings of fighter elements of Houthi Armed Militia, and the forces of the former president inside a building) at a specific location in (Crater) directorate of (Aden) governorate.

The degrees of verification of the military target were available through the ground sources that confirmed the use of the (building) in (Crater) directorate of (Aden) governorate, by (fighter elements of Houthi Armed Militia, and the forces of the former president) for the military actions, 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 (building) 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, on (16/07/2015), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target (gatherings of fighter elements of Houthi Armed Militia, and the forces of the former president inside a building), on specified location in (Crater) directorate of (Aden) governorate, using a single guided bomb that hit its target.

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, during the planning and execution of the military operation through the following:

1. Using one guided bomb which commensurate with the size of the target.

2. Ensuring no civilian 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 the military target site (War Museum) by JIAT specialists the following was found:

1. The (War Museum) of the claim is located in (crater) directorate, about (5) km south of (Aden) airport.

2. The (Museum) is a large building.

3. Traces of aerial targeting were observed on the northeast corner of the building, no other damage to the rest of the building.

4. Buildings adjacent to the (Museum) were not affected.

By studying the video recordings of the task carried out, JIAT found the following:

1. The aim was on the military target (the north east corner of the building).

2. No civilians were observed before and during the targeting.

3. The bomb hit the specified aim point in the north east corner of the building.

In light of that: JIAT found the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (gatherings of fighter elements of Houthi Armed Militia, and the forces of the former president inside a building) in (Crater) directorate of (Aden) 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 targeting of (Al-Thawrah Hospital) in (Hodeidah) city of (Hodeidah) governorate on (02/08/2018).

With regard to:

1. The press release issued by the Office of the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen on (3/08/2018) entitled (Strikes at Al-Hodeidah’s main hospital result in many deaths and injuries), where Yemen’s largest hospital (Al-Thawrah) was struck in (Hodeidah) on (Aug. 2, 2018), preliminary reports from authorities and humanitarian staff on the ground confirm many deaths and injuries caused by strikes at the hospital and near-by locations.

2. The press release issued by Save the Children Organization, on (02/08/2018) entitled (Explosions reported near Save the Children supported hospital in (Hodeidah, as port city sees fresh violence), that at least one explosion went off in the vicinity of the Hodeidah’s main hospital on Thursday evening.

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, open sources, 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 on (Al-Thawrah) street in the south western part of (Hodeidah) city, consist of a building complex surrounded by main streets, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).

By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces on (02/08/2018) which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the closest air mission carried out by the Coalition Forces in (Hodeidah) governorate was on a military target (gatherings of Houthi Armed Militia elements inside a building) on a specific location in a semi isolated area, in the city of (Hodeidah), (2500) meters away from the claimed location, using one guided bomb that hit its target.

By studying the satellite images of the claimed site (Al-Thawrah Hospital), by JIAT specialists, no signs of areal targeting were found on (Al-Thawrah Hospital) building.

By studying the photos and videos published in the media and the open sources, by JIAT specialists the following was found:

1. Signs of damages near (Al-Thawrah Hospital) were observed, due to mortar shells.

2. Images of a mortar shell in the claimed area.

By studying the daily missions carried out by the Coalition Surface Forces on (02/08/2018), which is the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Surface Forces did not carry out any firing in (Hodeidah) city of (Hodeidah) governorate. In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces is not responsible for the targeting of (Al-Thawrah Hospital), in (Hodeidah) city of (Hodeidah) governorate of the claimed.