SAUDI ARABIA

Joint Incidents Assessment Team refutes claims on incidents in Yemen

January 20, 2021
 JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission report, satellite images, video recordings of the targeted site, the Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences. — File photo
JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission report, satellite images, video recordings of the targeted site, the Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences. — File photo



RIYADH — The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) of Coalition Forces to Support Legitimacy in Yemen has refuted a number of claims raised by global bodies and international organizations on errors allegedly committed by the coalition forces during their military operations.

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 and international organizations on errors allegedly committed by the Coalition Forces to Support Legitimacy in Yemen during their military operations in Yemen.

In a press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, the spokesman of the JIAT, Mansour Al-Mansour, reviewed the results of the assessment made into five incidents which are as follows:

1. With regard to the statement of the (UN Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen) issued (07/08/2020), that strikes took place on (06/08/2020) in (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate, resulting in the death of about nine children, and the injury of seven others, in (Haradh) area in (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate.

JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including visits to the relevant operations centers, documents relating to military operations carried out on the date of the claim, interviewing and listening to those involved in carrying out air missions, daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission report, satellite images, video recordings of targeting sites, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions, and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of the evidence.

JIAT found that on (06/08/2020) one of the Coalition Air Forces formations observed (pick-ups and fighters of Al-Houthi armed militia), on one of the main approach routes used by Al- Houthi armed militia to support its forces in the area of operations at (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate, which at the time witnessed clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia, this observation was confirmed through ground sources, which is considered to be a legitimate military target that achieves a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions, and rule (8) of the Customary International Humanitarian Law.


The Coalition Forces carried out an air mission at (09:38) a.m. on (06/08/2020), using guided bombs, on military targets consist of (4) pick-ups type (Toyota Pick-up) on a dirt road, that is free of civilians and civilian objects, in (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate.

After reviewing the data on the claim and analyzing the facts, JIAT found the following:

The military targets (pick-ups and fighters belonging to Al-Houthi armed Militia) are located on a dirt road, which is one of the main approach roads used by Al-Houthi armed militia in the area of operations, which at the time witnessed clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia in (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate, in a mountainous area free of civilians and civilian objects.

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

The first target: (Toyota Pick-up) stopping on a dirt road in a location free of civilians and civilian objects, and the bed of the truck was loaded with equipment, no persons were observed on the bed of the truck, and as the aircraft approached the site and prepared to target, the truck maneuvered at high speed, the bomb fell next to it, the driver was seen rushing out of the truck after targeting, then subsequently the truck was moved and parked under a tree with the intention of hiding it.

The second target: (Toyota pickup) stopping on a dirt road and in a location free of civilians and civilian objects, the bomb hit the target, JIAT was unable to confirm what was on the bed of the truck, due to the blurred video.

The third target: (Toyota pickup) stopping on a dirt road and in a location free of civilians and civilian objects, nobody was on the bed of the truck, and as the aircraft prepared to attack, (4) persons exited the truck’s cab and rushed out in (deployment) way, the truck was targeted with a bomb that hit the target, and the persons who escaped from the truck were not targeted.

The fourth target: (Toyota pickup) stopping on a dirt road in a location free of civilians and civilian objects, the bed of the truck was loaded with equipment, no people were observed on it, the bomb hit the target, and it caught fire differently from the other trucks that were targeted, flames rose and continued for a long time.

The fifth target (Toyota pickup), which is the same truck in (the first targeting) that the bomb landed next to it, the truck was hidden under a tree in a location free of civilians and civilian objects, the bomb hit the target.

As a result of this targeting (A.M.M.) was injured, who is a well-known Houthi leader in the region, and considered one of the most important experts in charge of mine-planting.

By studying the satellite imagery of the military target site after the date of the claim, JIAT found that the targeting took place on a dirt road in an area free of civilian objects.

By Analyzing the videos shown in open sources, JIAT found that the video was showing the damages to one (Toyota Pick-up), the video did not show casualties or injuries at the scene, the other targeted pick-up trucks were not displayed.

By analyzing and evaluating the military operation, JIAT found the following:

Targets were observed in the area of operations, which at the time witnessed clashes between legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia.

Intelligence information was confirmed through ground sources.

The targets were evaluated and confirmed as military targets by the supported unit.

The targeting did not take place immediately after the targets were observed, evaluated, and confirmed, due to the departure of the formation flight for air refueling.

After air refueling, the formation flight returned to the site, and due to the time pressure and stress on the targeting officer, and the importance of speedy decision-making, the targeting officer of the supported unit failed to re-evaluate one of the targets, to ensure that the target still valid, in accordance with the targeting procedures of the Coalition Forces, and in accordance with the applicable rules of engagement.

A truck entered between military targets in the area of operations, which at the time witnessed clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia.

The Coalition Forces have repeatedly informed tribal leaders, and civilians in the area not to go to the areas of operation or near gatherings of Al-Houthi armed elements.

In light of that JIAT reached the following conclusions:

The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (pick-ups and fighters belonging to Al-Houthi armed Militia) on a dirt road in (Khab and Al-Shaaf) directorate of (Al-Jouf) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

A truck was hit accidentally, after entering between military targets in the area of operations, which at the time witnessed clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia.

JIAT recommends the following:

Accountability of the targeting officer in the supported unit, for breaching the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, due to the inaccuracy in taking the procedures used in the re-evaluation of the second target (truck).

The Coalition States to provide assistance for human and material losses caused by the unintentionally hitting (truck) after it entered between military targets in the area of operations, which at the time witnessed clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia.

2. With regard to what was stated in the final report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen for the year (2019) No. (S/2020/70) issued on (27/1/2020) that on (16/12/2018) at around (10:30) a.m., a water truck was hit by an airstrike in (Al-Sawadiah) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, in a specific coordinate, killing two children.

JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission report, satellite images, video recordings of the targeted site, the Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidences.

JIAT found that on (16/12/2018) during clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia in (Qaniyah) front in (Al-Sawadiah) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, the legitimate forces observed (a vehicle used to transport ammunition) belonging Al-Houthi armed militia in the area of ongoing military operations, which is considered to be a legitimate military target that achieves a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, and therefore has lost its legal protection due to its use in the active contribution to military action and support of the war effort, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian law.


The degree of verification was available through the ground sources of the legitimate forces, which confirmed and followed the movements of the (vehicle used to transport ammunition) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia, which are used for the purpose of actively contributing to military actions and supporting the war effort, based on rule (16) of customary international humanitarian law.

Accordingly, the Coalition Forces carried out an air support mission at (10:25) a.m. on (16/12/2018) on a military target consisting of (vehicle used to transport ammunition) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia in (Al-Sawadiah) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, using one guided bomb that hit its target.

By reviewing the data of the claim and analyzing the facts, JIAT found the following:

The claimed site is located within an area of ongoing military operations, which is witnessing ongoing clashes between the legitimate forces and Al-Houthi armed militia.

The coordinate of the claim is on an unpaved road, in an isolated area free of civilian objects, north of (Al-Sawadiah) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate.

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, by ensuring no civilian movements at the military target site before and during the targeting, as well as through the use of a single guided bomb, and that the targeting was accurate and direct, based on article (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, and rules (15) and (17) of customary international humanitarian law.

By evaluating the video recordings of the mission carried out on the military target, JIAT found the following:

The targeting was focused on the military target (vehicle used to transport ammunition) moving in an unpaved road in an isolated location free of civilian objects.

The bomb hit the military target (vehicle used to transport ammunition) and was direct and accurate.

No movements of (civilians or vehicles) were observed before and during the targeting.

JIAT searched open sources and was unable to find any reports or videos of a water truck targeted by Coalition Forces on (16/12l2018).

By analyzing the image attached to the claim, JIAT found the following:

The vehicle does not seem to be a water truck.

The presence of sidebars in the targeted vehicle, indicating that it is not intended to carry a water tank.

No traces or remains of the (water tank) on or around the targeted vehicle.

By analyzing the targeting video by the specialists in JIAT, it was found that:

There is no reflection of sunlight on the part behind the vehicle’s cab that normally appears if it is a tank.

There are no ducts for filling water on top of the targeted vehicle.

The reflection of the shadow of the vehicle shows that it is a cargo vehicle and not a water tank.

In light of that, the JIAT reached the following:

The Coalition Forces did not target (water truck) on (16/12/2018) in (Al-Sawadiah) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, as claimed.

The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (vehicle used to transport ammunition) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia, for the purpose of actively contributing to military actions, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

3. With regard to the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General No. (A/HRC/42/CRP.1) issued on (03 September 2019), that at around (5:30) Wednesday evening (24/10/2018) a Coalition airstrike hit a farm in the area of (Al-Massoudi station) in (Al-Mansouriah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, and the fragments of the explosion killed (21) civilians and injured (7) others, according to witnesses the victims were farmers who were harvesting and cleaning (okra) for sale in the market, when they were bombed twice, it was reported that one of the rockets did not explode.

The farm is located next to the highway connecting (Al-Hodeidah) to (Taiz) governorate, (200) meters from (al-Alya) junction in (Al-Durihimi) neighborhood, attached coordinates of the farm in the claim.


JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after-mission report, satellite images of the claim site, video recordings of the surveillance and reconnaissance system, open sources, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions, and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of the evidence.

IAT found that Coalition Forces received intelligence information about (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) at a specific location in (Al-Mansouriah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, it was also observed and monitored by the surveillance and reconnaissance system, which is considered to be a legitimate military target that the destruction of it would achieve a concrete, direct and certain military advantage, based on Article (52) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and rule (8) of customary international humanitarian law.


The availability of degrees of verification through ground sources, that confirmed the presence of (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) at a specific location in (Al-Mansouriah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, to supply and enhance its elements in the area of (Al-Durihimi), and was observed and monitored by the surveillance and reconnaissance system, which represents military actions to support the war effort, based on a rule (16) of customary International Humanitarian Law.

Accordingly, Coalition Forces carried out an air mission at (5:32) p.m. on (24/102018), on a military target (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) at a specific location, using a single guided bomb that hit its target.

The Coalition Forces have taken the possible precautions to avoid accidental loss or damage to civilians and civilian objects, or in any case, minimize it to the lowest possible, by ensuring that no civilians were at the target area before and during the targeting, and using one guided bomb commensurate with the size of the military target, in accordance with Article (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and rule (17) of customary International Humanitarian Law.

By examining the video recordings of the surveillance and reconnaissance system for the targeting process, JIAT found the following:

The target site was observed, and the military target was monitored by the surveillance and reconnaissance system.

Movements of persons at the targeting site, which have already been confirmed from ground sources as Al-Houthi armed militia elements.

No vehicles at the targeting site before and during the targeting.

The bomb fell on the military target.

By studying the after-mission report of the executed mission flight, JIAT found the following:

The executed mission flight received the description and coordinates of the military target from the Forward Air Controller (FAC).

The target recognition was achieved as (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters).

Movements of Al-Houthi armed militia elements were observed at the targeting site.

A single guided bomb was used, that hit its target.

By Comparing the documents relating to the mission carried out with the claim, JIAT found the following:

The military target is (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters), contrary to the claim that they were farmers.

Only one guided bomb was used, contrary to the claim that the site was targeted by two missiles, and that one of the rockets did not explode.

By analyzing the satellite images of the military target site, JIAT found the following:

The site is an open area next to the road and not a farm.

Satellite images after the date of the claim show no effects of air targeting on buildings near the military target.

By analyzing of the open-source, JIAT found the following:

The video broadcasted by media for the site shows the presence of three vehicles on-site, one of which is loaded with vegetables, and there were no traces of damage or burning on the vehicles as a result of aerial targeting, although these vehicles were not in the surveillance and reconnaissance system video recordings before and during the targeting.

The focus was on one bomb location only, but neither the claimed unexploded (second rocket) was shown, nor where it fell.

Images of persons laying on the ground, but there were no signs of burns or wounds on their bodies.

Images of sacks and some boxes of vegetables next to it, that had no effects of aerial bombing.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target a farm in the area of (Al-Massoudi station) in (Al-Mansouriah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate as claimed and that the procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (gatherings of Al-Houthi armed militia fighters) in an open area, in (Al-Mansouriah) directorate of (Al-Hodeidah) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

4. With regard to what was received by (JIAT), that at (10:00) p.m. on (25/09/2015), Coalition Air Force targeted the house of (A.S.B.) in (Azzah) area in (Al-Baydha) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, resulting in the complete destruction of the house, the death of one member, and the injury of (2) of his family, attached photos and coordinates of the house.

JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission reports, satellite images, photos for the house in claim, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of evidence, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces received intelligence information that there was (gathering of elements of Al-Houthi armed militia and weapons depots) in a specific location, in (Azzah) area in (Al-Baydha) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate.

At (9:25) p.m. on Saturday (25/09/2015), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target (gathering of elements of Al-Houthi armed militia and weapons depots) in (Al-Baydha) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate, using guided bombs that hit their targets.

By reviewing after mission reports and satellite imagery of the military target site, JIAT found the following:

Traces of air-targeting on the military target.

The bombs hit their targets accurately.

The military target was (1,300) meters away from the coordinates of the house in the claim, which is far from the claimed location and outside the effect of the collateral damage of the bombs.

By studying the air missions carried out the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:

On (24/09/2015) one day before the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (11) km away from the claimed location.

On (26/09/2015) one day after the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (52) km away from the claimed location.

By studying the satellite images of the claimed location after the claimed date (25/09/2015), JIAT found that:

No house was found in the claimed location coordinates.

No traces of air targeting effects in the claimed coordinates.

By analyzing the photographs of (the house) in the claim JIAT found the following:

Damages to a small, single-story traditional building.

The damages to the building do not commensurate with the magnitude of the impact of airstrikes.

There were no burn marks on furniture, columns, wood panels, and walls in the building, which denies that the damage was caused by aerial targeting.

JIAT believes that the photographs are likely to belong to a small building about (100) meters away from the coordinates of the claimed location.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target the house of (A.S.B.) in (Azzah) area in (Al-Baydha) directorate of (Al-Baydha) governorate as claimed.

5. With regard to what was observed by (JIAT) in the report of the Physicians for Human Rights issued (March 2020) entitled (Attacks by the conflict parties on the health sector in Yemen), which included that on (19/09/2015), a Coalition aircraft targeted the only health center in (Al-Nadheer) district of (Sa'da) governorate, the center was completely destroyed, leaving the area without a health facility.

The JIAT vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission reports, satellite images of the claimed site, the coordinates provided by the representative of the legitimate Yemeni government in JIAT for some of the centers and hospitals contained in the report issued by Physicians for Human Rights, including the coordinates of the (Al-Nadheer Health Center) in (Razih) directorate of (Sa'da) governorate, the website of the National Information Center in Yemen which contains the health centers and hospitals in Yemen, Coalition Forces rules of engagement, provisions, and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after assessment of the evidence.

JIAT found that (Al-Nadheer Health Center) of the claim is located in a specific position in the southern side of (Sa'da) governorate, and is mentioned in the official website of the National Information Center in Yemen, and is in the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL).


By studying the Coalition Forces air missions carried out on the day of the claim (19/09/2015), JIAT found that Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target (armory) belongs to Al-Houthi armed militia in (Saqayn) district of (Sa'da) governorate, (13) km away from the (Al-Nadheer health center), using a single guided bomb that hit its target.

By studying the air missions carried out the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:

On (18/09/2015) one day before the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (4.8) km away from (Al-Nadheer Health Center) the claimed location.

On (20/09/2015) one day after the date of the claim, the closest military target the Coalition Forces dealt with was (5) km away from (Al-Nadheer Health Center) the claimed location.

By analyzing the satellite imagery of (Al-Nadheer Health Center) after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:

(Al-Nadheer Health Center) consists of a building and its annexes inside a fence.

No traces of damages resulting from aerial targeting on (Al-Nadheer Health Center) building.

In light of that, JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target (Al-Nadheer Health Center) in (Al-Nadheer) district of (Sa'da) governorate as claimed. — SPA


January 20, 2021
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