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UN rights chief says Kunduz bombing may be war crime


The UN head of human rights has said the attack may amount to a war crime. “The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime,” said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

He described the bombing as “utterly tragic, inexcusable, and possibly even criminal.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the airstrikes and called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability.

“The Secretary-General recalls that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement attributed to Ban said. He commended the courageous and dedicated staff of the organization and extended his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.

“All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces,” MSF said in a statement.

“MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning.” The medical chairty says 19 people – including 12 local staffers died in the attack. Among them were seven patients from the intensive care unit, three of whom were children. A total of 37 people were also injured, including 19 staff members, and 18 patients and caretakers. Five of the injured staff members were in critical condition, it said.

Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch said. “All forces are obligated to do their utmost to avoid causing civilian harm.”
The failure of US forces to stop an attack from striking a hospital strongly suggests the forces may have violated the laws of war, the statement on the group’s website said. The organization urged for an open investigation and called on the US to review its targeting procedures to ensure such incidents do not reoccur.

NATO’s Secretary General has expressed his condolences to all those affected by the bombing of the hospital in Kunduz.

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