RIYADH, March 6 (CIC) – The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), an oversight mechanism addressing alleged violations by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, has concluded that airstrikes carried out last year were in accordance with international humanitarian law and many of the alleged strikes were falsely attributed to the Coalition.
“International organizations report information received from eyewitnesses and from injured parties. To them, any damage taking place while aircraft are in the sky is an airstrike, and thus attributed to Coalition forces, but the issue is that it might be a missile launched by other parties,” Mansour Al-Mansour, official spokesperson of JIAT, said at a press briefing late on Monday at the Officers Club of Armed Forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Among other cases, Al-Mansour presented findings of JIAT regarding an alleged Coalition bombing near Al-Hamli bridge, in Taiz province on July 21, 2017 that killed a woman and wounded five others.
”JIAT found that Coalition Air Force supported the legitimate forces by carrying out four air missions using bombs directed at legitimate military targets that posed immediate danger to the legitimate forces. The nearest was 2,000 meters away from Al-Hamli Bridge, and four hours off the claimed time,” Al-Mansour said.
Many of the strikes that hit civilian targets were unjustly attributed to the Coalition, but JIAT announced that all Coalition airstrikes that could be confirmed were in accordance with international rules of engagement and international humanitarian law.
The JIAT spokesman also presented the results of an assessment of a widely publicized attack on a funeral in the village of Sharaa, in Arhab directorate on February 2, 2017 , in which six civilians were killed and 15wounded .
JIAT concluded that the leaders of Iranian-backed Houthi militias were present in a building in Sharaa, planning an attack on the Naham front – where the legitimate forces were clashing with Houthi militias.
“The situation required us to target the site immediately. The Coalition forces used a guided bomb. Due to the building’s use by the armed Houthi militia to support their war effort, it was considered to be a legitimate military target whose destruction was a military advantage in accordance with international agreements,” said Al-Mansour.
JIAT also does not shy away from highlighting the Coalition’s responsibility for some of the attacks. It concluded that Coalition has caused civilian casualties due to a technical fault last year.
”The Coalition Air Force targeted a legitimate military target, a Communications Control System, in Faj Atan in Sana’a on August 25, 2017, but one out of four bombs deviated from the target and hit a building (300 meters) away from the target area. JIAT therefore advises the Coalition member states to consider providing assistance to the families of the victims, and material damage,” said Al-Mansour
The JIAT spokesperson said that Yemeni civilians and their representatives can present a request to a committee for compensation or material assistance with regard to the Coalition’s attacks that have caused unintended collateral damage.