Coalition Command in Yemen Issues Statement


Riyadh - 26 May 2016

Proceeding from the responsibilities of the countries in the Arab Coalition towards the Yemeni people and their legitimate government in regard to the aggressive acts and military hostilities committed by the Houthi militias and the former president forces in the Yemeni lands and their takeover of weapons depots including projectiles systems from military and security institutions in Yemen, and according to the contents of the security council resolutions regarding the Yemeni crisis, and considering of what the hostile acts and military escalation from Houthi militias and the former president forces and their takeover of the power have caused in breaching the safety and security of Yemeni people and threatening the stability and security of neighboring countries endangering, therefore, the regional and international peace and security, the coalition forces intervened in Yemen on the basis of the self defense principle, and after a direct request from the legitimate president of Yemen in order to achieve peace and insure security and stability of Yemen, safety of its people, and security of its neighboring countries.
The coalition forces in Yemen have complied with all the rules of the international humanitarian law, and the international human rights law in all of their military operations as they are committed to the duty of protecting the civilians and sparing them the damages of the conflict.
So, the coalition forces have set strict constraints and restrictions designed to be in the form of rules of engagement according to the rules and regulation of the international humanitarian law. Among the most important mechanisms and procedures of these rules in this matter are the following:
1. Mechanisms and procedures of targeting:
1. Identifying the military targets undergoes several stages. It starts from choosing a target, analyzing it and confirming that it's a military target through several sources to insure not to make mistakes when targeting every site in the Yemen is supposed to be civilian unless the contrary is decisively proved.
2. Constantly working on developing the list of sites that are prohibited from being targeted including sites of civilian presence, places of worship, diplomatic quarters, international governmental and non-governmental organizations and committees, and cultural sites. The list is updated constantly and sent in a periodic basis, to all the levels of the coalition forces to insure that all the specialists are aware of it.
3. Legal advisers shall be constantly employed to planning and targeting cells in order to study the proposed target and approve them so no location is targeted unless is assured of its legitimacy and compatibility with the international humanitarian law.
4. The coalition forces use precise and guided weapons, in spite of their high cost in addition to the lack of international legal commitment on the countries to use them, in order to avoid any mistakes, collateral damages and casualties.
5. The coalition forces in Yemen tend to drop warning publications in the areas where military targets exist as a protective measure before any operation to ensure that civilians are not in the vicinity of these locations.
6. The coalition forces in Yemen seek, during the conduct of their military operation, to constantly develop the usual targeting mechanisms, and their accomplishments in this regard include the following:
* Constant development of the specialists' capabilities in the coalition forces in the field of the targeting mechanisms through conducting specialized courses in this field with some international centers such as (San Remo) institute for international humanitarian law specialized in armed conflicts, and with collaboration with some friendly countries in the field of training specialists in these matters.
* Increasing the number of coalition forces in Yemen within the perimeter of collateral damage which may resulted from targeting procedures that have a wide scope in comparison with what is applied in other countries.
* Applying additional review elements of choosing targets to increase the level of assurance regarding the legitimacy of targeted site.
* Adding protective procedures to prevent any errors including restraining bombings only after taking permission from observers on the front line who assure that there are no civilians in the vicinity of the targets.

2. After-targeting assessment and investigation procedures against accident claims:
1. After-targeting assessment procedures:
* After each targeting operation a review and an analysis must be performed based on the operation records and reports of army units conducting the operation to check the accuracy of targeting operation and if there's any unexpected collateral damage.
* Quick assessment process to benefit from each operation assessment outcomes and avoid any future mistakes.
* Referring any targeting operation that caused unexpected collateral damages (if any) to the internal investigation (Accidents Office).
2. Conducting investigations concerning claims about targeting civilians, civilian facilities and humanitarian organizations:
* Coalition forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen are keen on establishing a separate investigation team in every incident regarding any of their operations. One of these efforts is establishing an office for accident at Air Force HQ to investigate each claim with a number of procedures. Some of these procedures are:
- Listing all sites targeted in the areas of claims.
- Reviewing after mission reports in the plane and from the forward air controller (FAC).
- Reviewing sorties recordings at the claim area.
- Analyze investigations outcomes and take the legal necessary procedures including:
a. Declaring all investigation results.
b. Commitment to compensate for all collateral damage.
c. Take all precautions to avoid any mistakes, and to develop all targeting devices.
d. Take action in questioning any convicted person with such incidents.
As far as humanitarian aspects are concerned, coalition forces since the start of this operation in Yemen were careful regarding humanitarian aspect. In fact, they have established an evacuation and humanitarian works cell to handle all the tasks related to the humanitarian work and coordinates with governmental and nongovernmental international organizations to ensure lifting the suffering of the people of Yemen and to provide the necessary supplies, whether food or medical materials. As well as, it shall facilitate a secure exit for civilians and diplomatic missions working in Yemen whom desire to be evacuated, and coordinates all international organizations humanitarian movements to ensure its security during military operations with direct and continued coordination with the legitimate Yemeni government. It should be noted that the humanitarian operations and the evacuation cell have issued (3133) coordinative clearances with international organizations for humanitarian operations by the end of march 2016.