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JIAT issues statement refuting allegations on Coalition Air Force wrong use of power in Sa’dah 3 Riyadh

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions stated that on June 26th, 2018 the Coalition Air Force conducted an airstrike against a (bus) in (Hodeida) Governorate killing (22) civilians, including women and children.

The Joint Incidents Assessment Team has vetted the possibility of the incident, and following verification of all related documents; including the procedures and Rules of Engagement, Daily Mission Schedule, After Mission Report, video recordings of the mission, satellite imagery and evidence evaluation, JIAT has sought to state the facts and reveal the entire truth, despite the lack of information presented by the claimant, thus achieving the principle of transparency, respecting all claimants, presenting the world public opinion with the truth, detailing the allegation, comparing it to factual information and covering all its aspects. According to the allegation, the Coalition Air Force targeted a (bus) in (Hodeida) Governorate on June 26th, 2018, and as open sources indicate, the alleged incident occurred on the road connecting (Zabid) and (Al Jarrahi) cities. JIAT has found, through reviewing executed air missions, that on the date of the allegation the Coalition Air Force DID NOT conduct any missions on the road connecting (Zabid) and (Al Jarrahi) cities, and the closest engaged target was (7) kilometers away from the aforementioned road. On Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 at (9:18) am, upon monitoring of the Tactical Air Controller through an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that located a Light Utility Vehicle (LUV), which was armed, North of (Zabid) City, Hodeida. Thus, the (LUV) lost its legal protection of civilian objects due to effective contribution to military action as stated in Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Article 52, paragraph 3. Becoming a [military objective] whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. As stated in paragraph 2 of the same Article. Meeting Customary Rule 16 of feasible verification, the Coalition Air Force carried out a strike against the (LUV) using precision-guided munition. The Coalition Air Force took all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view of avoiding, and in any event, to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects., evidenced by the use of proportionate precision-guided munition to the target in accordance with the aforementioned Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Article 57 and Customary Rules 15 and 17.

JIAT found that the location and type of the target were not compatible, as the Coalition Air Force targeted an (armed Houthi LUV), whereas the claimant alleges targeting of a (bus) in (Hodeida). Following review of the video recording of the executed mission, JIAT confirms that the target was an (armed LUV) and not a (bus), that was targeted on a paved road, which was free of movements (vehicular and civilian) prior and during the operation. No collateral damage sustained as the precision-guided munition made a precise, direct hit.

As a result, JIAT finds that the Coalition Forces DID NOT target the (bus) mentioned in the allegation. JIAT also confirms the validity of the Coalition Air Force procedures in targeting an (armed LUV) North of (Zabid), and that they were carried out in accordance with the Customary International Humanitarian Law.

Source: Saudi Press Agency