‘US is bombing hospitals and refuses to be held accountable’

A wounded Afghan man, who survived a U.S. air strike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, receives treatment at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul October 8, 2015. © Mohammad Ismail
The Geneva Convention must be applied in times of war, but the way the US is conducting wars is criminal as it again and again targets civilians, says Sara Flounders, head of International Action Center.

The global medical charity Doctors Without Borders has released its report on the bombing of its hospital in Afghanistan last month. The US air strikes hit the medical facility in the city of Kunduz.

RT: There is a lot in this report. What findings did you find most significant?

Sara Flounders: What’s most important is that this call for an independent inquiry is being ignored by the US government, which is responsible for this crime. In the same way that they refuse to be held accountable in any of the wars that they have initiated and carried out. And it is not the first hospital bombing. It is important that Medecins Sans Frontieres [MSF] - 'Doctors Without Borders' - demand for accountability, demand for an inquiry, an independent inquiry, be listened to and responded to by the countries of the world and the people of the world.

The US refuses to be held accountable to the many hospitals, and it has struck hospitals in every single war. There was a list with cities, with names of hospitals with photos of 33 hospitals hit in the bombing of Yugoslavia; 28 hospitals in Iraq in the 1991 bombing; and again in 2003; hospitals hit in Libya in the US bombing. This is absolutely a crime every time and it is an explicit violation of the Geneva Convention, which says that any strike on civilian hospitals is absolutely to be prohibited.

I think Doctors Without Borders coming forward again with the evidence with the photos, it is up to the people of the world to demand that the US be accountable for this crime and cease its attacks on hospitals, on civilian infrastructure, which has become a regular act. Three weeks after the hospital that was hit in Afghanistan, a hospital in Yemen - also Doctors Without Borders - was hit by… US-targeted Saudi planes. Saudi Arabia can’t fly one plane in Yemen without US surveillance, targeting, and providing the coordinates. So there is another hospital coming three weeks after the hospital in Afghanistan targeted with US satellite and equipped planes.

The world has to respond to this and demand that the Geneva Conventions, at least as a bare minimum, be applied in times of war. But this is the way that the US is conducting wars and it is absolutely criminal and it targets again and again the civilians.

Candles are pictured outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. © Denis Balibouse

RT: You said that America hasn’t answered to those previous attacks that it has done. Isn’t it going to cloud things if 20 Taliban fighters were in that hospital? That’s going to make it more difficult for any legal fallout to occur, isn’t it?  

SF: Absolutely not, none of them were armed; this was not a base of operation. But the Geneva Convention is absolutely clear on this – that even if that were true, a hospital cannot be hit for any reason whatsoever. So the fact that there were Taliban - unarmed - receiving treatment is no reason at all for it to become a target. But we should know what the Geneva Conventions say – that under no circumstances can a hospital be targeted. And clearly this hospital was targeted again, and again, and again – even after they called, phoned, and provided their coordinates.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.