Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Tivoli Report | Ban mortar use

Published:Friday | July 8, 2016 | 7:00 AM
In this Gleaner file photo, masked men barricade a street with a vehicle on the eve of bloody clashes between the security forces and fighters loyal to Christopher Coke.

The Sir David Simmons-led West Kingston Commission of Enquiry has suggested that Jamaica fall in line with international humanitarian law and prohibit the use of mortars in built-up areas.

The recommendation was included in the report of the three-member commission, which investigated the conduct of the May 2010 police-military operations in Tivoli Gardens.

The following is the full transcript of the commission's recommendations on the use of mortars and other indirect-fire weapons in future operations:

We support the principle of the operational independence of the Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) as enshrined in the Defence Act. Thus, we are reluctant to suggest the imposition of a fetter on the independence of the Chief of Defence Staff in operational matters.

However, we think that the case against the use of mortars in built-up areas is unanswerable.

Contemporary international best practice and international humanitarian law do not advocate the use of such weapons in built-up areas.

We, therefore, recommend that in future, the leadership of the JDF pay careful regard to contemporary best practice and learning in relation to the use of weapons of indirect fire. Consistent with international humanitarian law, the use of these weapons in built-up areas should be prohibited.

And, where their use in other settings may be contemplated, the CDS should utilise the procedure for consultation with the prime minister as provided for in Section 9 of the Defence Act before resorting to the use of mortars or similar weapons. There should be a strict application of the relevant doctrine.

Incendiary devices should not be used.