The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen announced on Wednesday the results of investigations of allegations made against some military operations led by the Arab Coalition in the war-torn country.
JIAT spokesperson Mansour Al-Mansour, on the sidelines of a presser, refuted a number of claims raised by global bodies and international organizations on errors allegedly committed by coalition forces backing the internationally recognized government in Yemen.
JIAT responded to the statement of the UN Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen issued in August 2020 about strikes in Al-Jawf governorate, resulting in the death of about nine children, and the injury of seven others.
The spokesman explained that, after vetting facts related to the incident, JIAT found that coalition forces had spotted Houthi vehicles and fighters on one of the main approach routes used by the Iran-backed militia to support its combatants at the directorates of Khab and al-Shaaf in al-Jawf.
Ground sources confirmed that these areas were witnessing clashes between pro-government forces and Houthi militants, making them 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.
Al-Mansour revealed that the operation successfully injured a well-known Houthi leader in the region, and one of the most important experts responsible for planting mines.
“Coalition forces have repeatedly informed tribal chiefs and civilians to steer clear from operation sites, gatherings of armed Houthi militia members,” he added, stressing that measures taken by coalition forces were in agreement with international humanitarian law.
Another allegation made by Physicians for Human Rights issued in March 2020 claimed that a coalition aircraft targeted the only health center in Al-Nadheer district of Saada governorate, completely destroying it and leaving the area without a health facility.
The assessment team vetted the incident and reviewed all documents, including the coalition’s daily mission schedule, air tasking orders, after mission reports, satellite images of the claimed site. It also obtained coordinates provided by the Yemeni government representative to JIAT for some of the centers and hospitals mentioned in the report issued by Physicians for Human Rights.
JIAT found that Al-Nadheer Health Center is located south of Saada governorate, and is mentioned in the official website of the National Information Center in Yemen, and is on the coalition forces’ No Strike List (NSL).
By studying data on air missions carried out by coalition forces on the day of the claim (19/09/2015), JIAT discovered that an air mission was staged against a Houthi weapons cache in the Saqayn district of Saada governorate, some 13 km away from the health center.
A single guided bomb was deployed and hit its target.
Analyzing satellite imagery of Al-Nadheer Health Center, obtained after the date of the alleged attack, JIAT found that there were no traces of damages resulting from aerial targeting of the health complex.
In light of that, JIAT concluded that coalition forces did not target the health center as claimed.