Doctors Without Borders submits petition to White House for independent investigation of Kunduz attack

More than 545,000 people have signed the petition

Massoud Hayoun
New York
Monday 07 December 2015 21:39 GMT
The damaged hospital in which Doctors Without Borders operated is shown in Kunduz.
The damaged hospital in which Doctors Without Borders operated is shown in Kunduz. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

International medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, on Monday submitted a petition to the White House requesting an independent investigation into the US’s October 3 attacks on a trauma center in Afghanistan.

More than 545,000 people worldwide signed the petition calling on President Barack Obama to approve a International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) investigation into the attack on the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan that killed 31 civilians and injured dozens more. IHFFC, which investigates violations of humanitarian law, has agreed to conduct the investigation if Washington and Kabul offer their consent.

“While the US, NATO, and the Afghan government have launched investigations, it is impossible to rely only on the parties involved in the conflict in Afghanistan to carry out independent and impartial investigations of acts in which they are implicated,” a Doctors Without Borders press release said. “Perpetrators cannot also be judges.”

US Defense Department spokesman Christopher Sherwood told The Independent the Department is “aware of” the petition. “I can't provide any comment to their wanting the independent investigation,” he said.

A Pentagon investigation into the incident last month found that the crew of the US AC-130 warplane that conducted the attack had provided the coordinates of the hospital to their headquarters before striking and that location was on a list of no-strike sites.

“The headquarters was aware of the coordinates for the MSF trauma center and had access to the no-strike list but did not realize that the grid coordinates for the target matched a location on the no-strike list or that the aircrew was preparing to fire on a hospital,” US Army General John Campbell, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan told the press when the report was released.

“This is an example of human and process error,” he added.

Sherwood reiterated earlier statements by US defense officials standing by the investigation.

"We take our responsibility to investigate this incident very seriously, and the US team of investigators has gone to great lengths to ensure this investigation provides a full and impartial accounting of the facts and circumstances of this incident,” he said.

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