Investigation’s Findings Released on Ceremony Hall Bombing in Yemen
October 15, 2016
(WASHINGTON, DC)–The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen issued the following statement today based on the initial findings of its investigation:
The JIAT initiated an investigation into the Oct. 8, 2016, ceremony hall bombing immediately after it sadly occurred. The Coalition Forces Command have fully cooperated with this investigation.
JIAT has examined all related documents and assessed evidence, including the rules of engagement and the testimonies of concerned personnel and those involved in the incident. JIAT has concluded that a party affiliated with the Yemeni Presidency of the General Chief of Staff passed on erroneous information that there was a gathering of armed Houthi leaders in a known location in Sana'a, and insisted that the location be targeted immediately as a legitimate military target.
The Air Operations Center in Yemen directed a close-air-support mission to target the location without obtaining approval from the Coalition command to support legitimacy and without following the Coalition command’s precautionary measures to ensure that the location was not a civilian one that may not be targeted. A Coalition aircraft in the area carried out the mission, which resulted in several deaths and injuries.
JIAT has found that because of non-compliance with Coalition rules of engagement and procedures and the issuing of incorrect information, a Coalition aircraft wrongly targeted the location, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.
JIAT has therefore concluded that appropriate action, in accordance with Coalition regulations, must be taken against those who caused the incident, and that compensation must be offered to the families of the victims. Moreover, Coalition forces must immediately review their rules of engagement and update their procedures to ensure adherence in future.
JIAT is still gathering and analyzing data related to the incident, namely reports that some parties may have used this erroneous bombing to increase the number of victims, in coordination with the relevant agencies of the legitimate Yemeni government and concerned states, and will announce the results as soon as its investigations are complete.