Doctors Without Borders Seeks First-of-Its-Kind Inquiry

'Even war has rules," says group of airstrike on hospital
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2015 7:06 AM CDT
Unprecedented Inquiry Sought in Hospital Airstrike
Francoise Saulnier, Joanne Liu, and Bruno Jochum of Doctors Without Borders talk to reporters Wednesday.   (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Doctors Without Borders isn't letting the deadly airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan slip quietly away. The group Wednesday called the US bombing that killed 12 of its staffers and 10 patients "an attack on the Geneva Conventions" and called for an unprecedented independent investigation, reports Voice of America. "Even war has rules," said its president, Joanne Liu. Her group wants the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission—a panel set up under the Conventions in 1991 but never used—to launch an inquiry. It takes the request of one its 76 signatory nations to launch one, reports CNN.

"Governments up to now have been too polite or afraid to set a precedent," said Liu. "The tool exists, and it is time it is activated." The group has called the airstrike a war crime, and Liu says internal investigations by the US or Afghanistan aren't enough. “If we let this go as if it were a nonevent, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war." Only when the investigation is complete will the group decide whether to pursue criminal charges, reports Reuters. (On Tuesday, a US general called the airstrike a mistake.)

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