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JIAT Reaffirms Transparency in Probing Suspected Human Rights Violations in Yemen

JIAT Reaffirms Transparency in Probing Suspected Human Rights Violations in Yemen

Thursday, 18 April, 2019 - 10:00
Yemeni soldiers stand on their position on a mountain on the frontline of fighting with Houthis in Nihem area, near Sanaa, Yemen January 27, 2018. Picture taken January 27, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
Riyadh- Abdul Hadi Habtoor
The Arab Coalition’s Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) reaffirmed its commitment to transparency when probing into submitted cases, reaching and revealing its findings in a professional fact-checking fashion.

Recently, JIAT investigated four claims made by Yemeni and international human rights organizations against Arab Coalition operational conduct. Investigators found that although rules of engagement were sound, a technical fault resulted in collateral damage.

JIAT Spokesman Mansour al-Mansour said Arab Coalition airstrikes in 2015, accused of killing 20 civilians in Yemen, were targeting a compound used by Houthi commanders.

The airstrikes destroyed four houses in the Al-Hasba neighborhood in the north of the capital Sanaa, which is held by Houthi militants.

JIAT investigators had found that the site was a legitimate military target but a technical fault meant two of the four bombs hit buildings 80 and 150 meters away.

A Human Rights Watch report alleged that out of the 20 people killed in the airstrikes on Sept. 21, 2015, 18 were from the same family, including 11 children and six women.

The JIAT, an investigative body tasked with looking into allegations of human rights violations in Yemen, said intelligence had confirmed that the targeted compound had been seized by Houthis from a tribal elder and was being used by militant commanders for meetings.

“Furthermore, ground intelligence confirmed that there were Houthi commanders meeting late at that night in the seized building,” the JIAT report said.

It added that the coalition should “review and rectify” the technical fault and provide assistance for the human losses and material damage that took place at the two buildings incorrectly hit.

In another alleged incident in May of the same year, the National Committee to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Yemen reported that 14 people were killed when the coalition aircraft fired four missiles in a neighborhood in Al-Mudhaffar, Taiz governorate. The committee alleged that one missile fell on a house and the second missile fell next to a mosque.

The JIAT report, however, found that allegations were inaccurate and that guided bombs had hit targets, not the residences claimed by the committee. The closest civilian residence was 240 meters away.

The report found “highly reliable” intelligence had shown a gathering of Houthi militants and military equipment, including air-defense missiles.

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