MSF calls for independent inquiry into US attack on Afghan hospital
October 07 2015 01:40 PM

Francoise Saulnier, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) legal counsel, gestures next to Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, during a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

Reuters/Geneva

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) called on Wednesday for an independent international fact-finding commission to be established to investigate the US bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which it deems a war crime.

The medical charity said that the commission, which can be set up at the request of a single state under the Geneva Convention, would gather facts and evidence from the US, Nato and Afghanistan.

Only then would MSF decide whether to bring criminal charges for loss of life and damage, it said.

"If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank cheque to any countries at war," MSF International president Joanne Liu told a news briefing in Geneva. "There is no commitment to an independent investigation yet."

The US military took responsibility on Tuesday for the air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 22 people, calling it a mistake and vowing to bring the perpetrators to account.

MSF said it sent a letter on Tuesday to the 76 countries who signed up to the additional protocol of the Geneva Convention that set up the standing commission in 1991.

Neither the US nor Afghanistan are signatories and Francoise Saulnier, MSF lead counsel MSF, said that the consent of the states involved is necesssary.

MSF is in talks with Switzerland about convoking the international commission of independent experts.

"Today we say enough, even war has rules," Liu said.

"We cannot rely on internal investigations by US, Nato and Afghan forces."  

Pakistan rejects accusations of involvement in Kunduz attack

Pakistan's military has rejected allegations by Afghanistan's deputy army chief that Pakistani generals were involved in the Taliban's brief capture of Kunduz and had escaped the city wearing burqas.

Taliban fighters seized control of the northern Afghan provincial capital for three days last week, their most spectacular victory since being toppled from power by a US-led coalition in 2001.

General Murad Ali Murad, Afghanistan's deputy army chief, told Afghan media that Pakistan's military had helped lead the attack.

"We will identify and detain these Pakistani generals who are hiding now and escaped wearing women's burqas," he said, according to Tolo News.

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