WASHINGTON (February 14, 2018) — In response to a recent statement that the CJTF-OIR clarified its use of “non-credible” in describing allegations of civilian casualties, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Executive Director Federico Borello issued the following remarks:

“We welcome this important change that CJTF-OIR has made in its release of reports of civilian casualties. It now notes that “non-credible” does not necessarily suggest denial of the incident occurring or a comment on the credibility of the source of the allegation, but rather may indicate a lack of evidence. This clarification signals a positive shift towards a more nuanced interpretation of the truth of allegations of civilian harm. Even so, there is much work to be done on post-harm remedies for civilians impacted by the coalition in Iraq and Syria. When harm does occur, it should figure out how to make amends to the families of those affected. As the coalition transitions into the post-conflict and stabilization period, it should remain – and further improve – its efforts to remain accountable to the Iraqi and Syrian people.”

Dan Mahanty, Director of CIVIC’s US Program added, “CIVIC has often noted that the US military nor its coalition partners should ever mistake lack of substantiating detail for lack of credibility. Cases that elude definitive judgment should be classified as “unknown” or “unresolved.” At the same time, the coalition should make every effort to reach out to witnesses or intermediaries that can help substantiate or refute a claim, especially when coalition forces can’t access the location directly.”

CIVIC remains committed to working with armed actors and civilians in conflict to develop and implement solutions to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm.

 

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Notes to editors:

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.

For more information, contact Kate Raley at +1 (713) 515-1267 or kate@civiliansinconflict.org