Riyadh - SPA
Joint Incidents Assessment Team Issues Statement Regarding Allegations against Coalition Forces

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 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 the Human Rights Watch report dated (21/08/2019), which included that on (16/10/2016), about (70) men were on a small boat and two large sailboats or (Sambuk), fishing off in front of the (Eritrean) coast near the (Davnin) island, Coalition Naval Forces stopped the boats throughout the day, the Coalition Forces arrested (12) persons, (9) men and (3) children, and detained them between (17) months and more than two and a half years, (8) fishermen are still detained.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents including the daily events log for the Coalition Naval Forces, maritime operations area mission reports, operations order's intelligence attachment, the event log for the Coalition Naval units, the Coalition Naval Forces daily intelligence reports, listening to the statements of those involved in the implementation of related maritime missions, rules of engagement for the Coalition Forces, the (San Remo) Guide on International Law applicable to armed conflict in the seas, principles and provisions of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the Coalition Naval Forces received intelligence information stating that a large boat (name - defined) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia, is located in a specific location in the international waters and used (the boat) to collect information and locate the coalition ships, in addition to control the smuggling of weapons, by many of boats, from African coast and the Yemeni coast, using fishing activity as a cover.
At (2:30) p.m. on Friday (14/10/2016), one of the coalition ships spotted the (name - defined) boat, and monitored its activities, at the meantime another boat was spotted not flying a flag, and towing (2) small boats within close distance of the (name - defined) boat and heading towards it.
Therefore, the Coalition Naval Forces tracked and stopped it, based on article (135) of the (San Remo) Guide on International Law applicable to armed conflicts in the seas approved in (June 1994), and searched and interrogated its crew, based on the rules of engagement for the Coalition Forces, and it became clear through investigations that the boat was used to gather information about coalition ships and smuggle weapons from African coast of to the Yemeni coast, thus the boat lost its protection status, based on article (137) of the (San Remo) Guide on International Law applicable to conflicts in the seas approved on (June 1994).
After questioning the captain of the boat, it turned out that he was (A.G.), a major arms smuggler, he admitted through interrogations that he was collecting information on coalition ships, smuggling weapons between the coast of Africa and the coast of (Al-Makha) in Yemen, and using fishing activity as a cover.
The detainees were handed over to the coalition authority in (Jazan) on (24/10/2016) to complete the investigation and detention procedures, on the basis of their admission to play a direct role in military operations, based on article (45) paragraph (1) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, (4) persons, including (3) (young boys) were handed over to the legitimate government of Yemen out of (12) who were detained.
In light of that, JIAT found that the procedures taken by Coalition Naval Forces, to stop, search and capture a boat, for their involvement in collecting and providing information on the location of coalition ships to Al-Houthi armed militia, and arms smuggling operations, were correct and in accordance with the rules of engagement for the Coalition Forces, the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and the international conventions and customs applicable in armed conflicts at seas.
With regard to the sixth report issued by the National Commission to Investigate Allegations of Human Rights Violations in Yemen, between (1 August 2018) and (31 January 2019), that at approximately (9:00) a.m. on (17/04/2018), (Masar Fort) and nearby houses in the village of (Masar) in (Manakhah) directorate of (Sana'a) governorate, were attacked by Coalition Forces airstrike, which carried out several attacks on the area that lasted until (3:00) p.m., the attack resulted in the destruction of the wall of the Fort and some of the archaeological buildings inside it, including mosque of the archaeological Fort, number of guard towers surrounding the Fort wall, grain stores the water tanks inside it, and the destruction of communications and radio towers that were located on the top of the mountain where the Fort is located.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including the daily mission schedule, after mission report, listening to the statements of those involved, accessing documents relating to targeting, satellite images of the sites of the claim, report of specialists and analysts of satellite and aerial images, video recordings of the executed mission, open sources, rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found the following:
1- The Coalition Forces did not carry out any air missions on (Masar) village on the date of the claim (17/04/2018) as claimed.
2- By studying the air missions carried out by the Coalition Forces on (16/04/2018) the day before the date of the claim, JIAT found that the Coalition Forces received intelligence information that Al-Houthi armed militia had taken over a site at the top of a mountain consisting of (building and its accessories, and communications masts) in (Manakhah) directorate of (Sana'a) governorate, and used it as (command and communication center), also Al-Houthi armed militia field commanders and foreign experts used the site to support the war effort, which is considered to be a high-value legitimate military target, whose destruction achieves a military advantage based on Article No. (52), paragraph (2) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and customary rule No. (8) of International Humanitarian Law.
Degrees of verification were achieved, through ground sources of a site consisting of fenced (building and its accessories, and communications masts), on top of a mountain in (Manakhah) directorate of (Sana'a) governorate, which confirmed that the Al-Houthi armed militia seized and used it as (command and communication center) to support the war effort, based on customary rule No. (16) of International Humanitarian Law.
The legal protection of civilian objects lost because the claimed site was seized and used by Al-Houthi armed militia as (command and communication center) to effectively contribute to military actions, based on Article No. (52) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
On Monday (16/04/2018), Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target (command and communication center) located on the top of a mountain in (Manakhah) directorate west of (Sana'a) capital, using guided bombs that hit their targets, except for one bomb that did not hit its target.
JIAT also found that the Coalition forces had taken the possible precautions to avoid accidental losses or damages to civilian objects, or in any case reduce it to the minimum, by using precision-guided bombs commensurate with the size of the target, and ensured that no civilians were present before and during the implementation of the targeting operation, based on Article No. (57) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and customary rules No. 15 and No. (17) of International Humanitarian Law, JIAT also found that the desired military advantage of targeting had been achieved, by neutralizing the command and control capabilities of Al-Houthi armed militia, and degrading their military capabilities.
JIAT found by studying the satellite images of the military target site after the date of the claim, that the military target was (command and communication center), consisting of a building and its accessories, and communication masts inside a fence, and another (communication mast) inside a fence, the satellite images also showed the air targeting on the military target.
By evaluating the documents relating to the claim, JIAT found the following:
1- (Masar) village in claim is located on a mountain in the southern part of (Manakhah) directorate west of (Sana'a) capital.
2- (Masar Fort) is not listed as an archaeological site on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3- The military air mission carried out on the target took place on (16/04/2018), which is in corresponds to what was published in the media.
Analysis of satellite images of (Masar) village after the date of the claim by specialists and photo analysts of JIAT, and comparing them with what was published in the media and open sources showed:
1- No aerial damage to the (mosque) in (Masar) village, which is 60 meters away from the military target.
2- There were no evidence of grain stores and water tanks inside the Fort as claimed.
3- No aerial damage to the (water reservoir) located outside the fence on the south, and west of the military target.
4- Two buildings adjacent to the military target were damaged by the fall of one of the bombs near it, as a result of a malfunction in the bomb.
By reviewing the after-mission reports and analyzing the video recordings of the targeting JIAT found the following:
1- Coalition Forces surveyed the target area before carrying out the mission, and ensured that there were no movements of vehicles or civilian personnel before and during the targeting.
2- The bombs hit their targets, except for one bomb that landed on the claimed (Masar Fort) fence, due to a malfunction, which damaged a part of the (Fort) fence and one of its guard towers.
In light of that, JIAT found the following:
1- The procedures taken by Coalition Forces, in dealing with the legitimate military target (command and communication center) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia in (Manakhah) directorate of (Sana'a) governorate, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.
2- It is appropriate for the coalition states to provide assistance for the material damage caused by the fall of one of the bombs on (Masar Fort) fence, as a result of a malfunction in the bomb.
With regard to the Human Rights Watch report issued (21/08/2019), which included that in (mid-March 2018), a group of six fishing boats sailed from the port of (Al-Hodeidah), and were joined by a seventh boat after 7 day, the seven boats with (91) men were fishing in the form of a scattered group near (Zubair) islands, about (45) nautical miles from (Al-Hodeidah), and that the Coalition Forces stopped and detained them in (Jazan), after firing warning shots at them in the direction of the water near the boats, one of the fishermen was shot in the leg and received medical treatment at a nearby hospital for (10) days, then was taken to the detention center, and the guards took him to the hospital for treatment every (5) days, the (91) men were released after (40) days.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents including the daily events log for the Coalition Naval Forces, the event log for the Coalition Naval units operating in the area of operations on the date of the claim, supply records of the units of the coalition naval forces operating in the area of operations on the date of the claim, the daily intelligence reports of the Coalition Forces, the visit of members of the JIAT to the Naval Operations Centre to check out the military operations carried out on the date of the claim, and meeting with the specialists and concerned people to hear their testimony about the circumstances of the situation, the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, the (San Remo) Guide on International Law applicable to armed conflict in the seas approved in (June 1994), principles and provisions of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that Coalition Forces received intelligence information, that Al-Houthi armed militia were planning to threaten the security and safety of the international shipping lines, by carrying out attacks on ships south of the Red Sea using portable missiles.
After reviewing the records of events of all coalition ships located in the maritime operations area, JIAT found that at (11:55) a.m. on Saturday (24/03/2018) and in the maritime operations area in the international waters, and (27) nautical miles from (Zubair) island, while a coalition ship was carrying out an escort mission and protecting an oil tanker, the coalition ship and the oil tanker were shot at by a missile that exploded at (200) yards from the coalition ship, the coalition ship identified the direction from which the missile was launched, and observed (7) boats at the same direction of the missile was launched in the maritime operations area, the ship ordered through the loudspeakers those boats to stop, (6) boats stopped while one boats did not respond, so the ship fired warning shots to stop the runaway boat, which continued to run away and throw an object it into the sea, and continued not to respond to the stop order, forcing the coalition ship had to deal with the runaway boat to stop it by force.
The Coalition Naval Forces took the necessary precautions in dealing with the boat in accordance with the rules of engagement, and based on paragraph (46) of the (San Remo) Guide on international law applicable to armed conflicts in the seas approved in (June 1994), by taking possible precautions in selecting the means and ways necessary to stop the runaway boat, by sound warning as well as the use of warning shots, it continued not to respond to the stop order, forcing the ship to deal with it to force it to stop, which is consistent with article (60) of the (San Remo) Guide on the International law applicable to armed conflicts in the seas approved in (June 1994), as well as the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, and the legitimate right to self-defense.
After the boat was stopped by force, it appeared that one of its crew members had been injured, and the coalition ship crew immediately provided first aid to the injured person, in compliance with the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, and in accordance with Article (7) of the Second Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
The coalition ship inspected the (7) boats with (91) crew on board and took the testimony of their crews, based on article (118) of the (San Remo) Guide on the International Law applicable to armed conflicts in the seas, and were captured on the basis of article (135) of the (San Remo) Guide on International Law applicable to armed conflicts in the seas, they were handed over to the coalition unit in (Jazan), which provided them with medical services by referring them to a local hospital, medical examinations showed that a number of them had contracted hepatitis , where they were isolated from the rest and treated, and then interrogated and released on (01/05/2018).
In light of that, JIAT found the following:
1- The procedures taken by Coalition Naval Forces, in stopping and searching (boats) that were present in the maritime operations area, and in the same direction from which the missile was launched, and dealing with the boat that refrained from stopping, and threw a foreign object in the sea, despite the sound warning as well as warning shots, were correct and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.
2- The period of detention was for security reasons, as the coalition ship was under missiles attack, and for medical and humanitarian reasons, as a number of them found to be infected with hepatitis, which necessitated their preventive isolation and health care.
With regard to the statement of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, entitled (An attack on hospitals caused the reduction of health services provided to thousands of displaced people in Marib), issued on (10/02/2020), where initial reports indicate that (Al-Jafrah hospital) and the (Saudi Field hospital) in (Mjzar) directorate of (Marib) governorate were hit on (07/02/2020) during the clashes, the two hospitals are serving (15,000) people, many of whom are displaced, the two hospitals are located (75) km northwest of (Marib) city.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, satellite images, open sources, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and assessment of evidences, JIAT found that (Al-Jafrah hospital) and (Saudi Field hospital) are located in (Mjzar) directorate of (Marib) governorate, on the main road linking (Marib) governorate and (Sana'a) governorate, and they are on the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL), by reviewing all air missions carried out on the date of the claim (07/02/2020), JIAT found that the Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on an (armed vehicle) in a remote area in (Mjzar) directorate of (Marib) governorate, using one guided bomb that hit its target, and that the military target was (8.3) km away from (Al-Jafrah hospital) and the (Saudi Field hospital).
After studying the daily mission schedule for the Coalition Forces air operations for the day before and the day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1- On (06/02/2020), the day before the date of the claim, the closest air mission carried out by the Coalition Forces was on a military target located in (Mjzar) directorate of (Marib) governorate, (8.6) km away from the claimed site.
2- On (08/02/2020), the day after the date in the claim, the closest air mission carried out by the Coalition Forces was on a military target located in (Naham) directorate of (Sana'a) governorate, (16) km away from the claimed site.
By analyzing the satellite images, JIAT found that there were no traces of air targeting effects on (Al-Jafrah hospital) and the (Saudi Field hospital), and by analysis of the videos and images from open sources, showed that the damage on (Al-Jafrah hospital) and the (Saudi Field hospital) did not indicate that they were caused by air strikes.
In light of that, JIAT concluded that the Coalition Forces were not responsible for the strikes on (Al-Jafrah hospital) and the (Saudi Field hospital) on (07/02/2020) in (Mjzar) directorate of (Marib) governorate as reported by the claim.
With regard to what was observed by the JIAT on the claim that on (01/01/2018), that the Coalition Air Force bombed the (coastal city of Al-Hodeidah), killing at least (23) people.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, satellite images, open sources, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, assessment of evidences, and review of all air missions carried out by Coalition Forces on the day of the claim, JIAT found that on Monday (01/01/2018), the Coalition Forces carried out an air mission on a military target a (vehicle) belonging to Al-Houthi armed militia, using one guided bomb that hit its target, (93) km away from the city of (Al-Hodeidah), the place of the claim.
By studying the daily mission schedule of the air operations carried out one day before and one day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1- On (31/12/2017), the day before the date of the claim, the Coalition Forces dealt with a military target (113) km away from (Al-Hodeidah) city, the place of the claim.
2- On (02/01/2018), the day after the date of the claim, the Coalition Forces dealt with a military target (105) km away from (Al-Hodeidah) city, the place of the claim.
In light of that, JIAT concluded that the Coalition Forces were not responsible for targeting the (coastal city of Al-Hodeidah) on (01/01/2018), as claimed.
With regard to the statement of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen entitled (Strikes damage a major hospital serving hundreds of thousands of Yemenis) issued on (07/11/2019), which includes that the main hospital serving hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, has been severely damaged as a result of the strikes that took place in (06/11/2019), in (Al-Makha) of (Taiz) governorate on the west coast of Yemen, and the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement entitled (MSF hospital was partially destroyed as a result of attack in Al-Makha city), that a hospital run by (MSF) in (Al-Makha) southwestern Yemen, was partially destroyed on Wednesday evening (06/11/2019), when an air attack on surrounding buildings, including a military depot, was targeted.
The JIAT vetted the incident, and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after mission report, satellite images, open sources, provisions and principles of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, assessment of evidences, JIAT found that the (Al-Makha hospital) which It is supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is located in the eastern part of (Al-Makha) city, on the main road of (Al-Makha) city, the hospital is on the Coalition Forces No Strike List (NSL), and (Al-Makha) city was under the control of the Yemeni legitimate forces at the date of the claim.
By studying the daily mission schedule of the Coalition Forces on (06/11/2019), JIAT found that the Coalition Forces did not carry out any air mission inside Yemen.
By studying the daily mission schedule of the air operations carried out one day before and one day after the date of the claim, JIAT found the following:
1- On (05/11/2019), the day before the date of the claim, the Coalition Forces did not carry out any air mission inside Yemen.
2- On (07/11/2019), the day after the date of the claim, the Coalition Forces did not carry out any air mission inside Yemen.
JIAT reviewed what was monitored in the media and open sources about the attack, several news reports indicated that (Al-Makha hospital) was subjected to projectiles fired by Al-Houthi armed militia, which was confirmed and documented by the legitimate forces in (Al-Makha) city.
In light of that, JIAT concluded that the Coalition Forces were not responsible for the damages to the main hospital in (al-Makha) city of (Taiz) governorate on (06/11/2019), as claimed.

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