Human Rights Watch: US should conduct criminal enquiry in MSF Attack

Washington DC, Dec. 22 (ANI): The Human Rights Watch said that the United States Government’s investigation into the October 3, 2015 airstrike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan should be treated as a criminal matter.

The attack, involving an AC-130 gunship firing for at least 29 minutes on a designated medical facility, killed at least 42 people and wounded dozens of others.

The Human Rights Watch suggested in a letter to the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. The Human Rights Watch analysed information from the US military, MSF, and other sources and found that there is a strong basis for determining that criminal liability exists. Under the laws of war, hospitals have special protections from attack, and attacks on them can be war crimes.

“The attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz involved possible war crimes,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch and added that ongoing US inquiry will not be credible unless it considers criminal liability and is protected from improper command influence.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the US military justice system’s poor record prosecuting alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, exemplified by new accounts of alleged abuses by Navy SEALs, shows the need for a criminal enquiry outside the military chain of command.

According to Margon, US military commanders who oversaw the Kunduz military operation shouldn’t be deciding who gets prosecuted for the MSF hospital attack and that the US government should recognise that its resolution of this horrific incident will have repercussions for US military operations far beyond Afghanistan. (ANI)

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