Attacking doctors in conflict zones is a War Crime. Why is no one prosecuted for it?

While a United States AC-130 gunship blasted a Médecins Sans Frontières
 hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, with howitzer and incendiary rounds early on the morning of October 3, 2015, MSF staff phoned and texted American and Afghan authorities more than a dozen times trying desperately to stop the attack. Medical staff and patients were shot as they fled the building. Others burned to death as they lay in their beds. By the time the half-hour airstrike was over, 42 people — including doctors, nurses, and patients — were dead.

The Pentagon later carried out an investigation and determined that while errors were made, no one will face criminal charges.

Though it was horrific, the Kunduz hospital attack was not unusual. It was one of hundreds of assaults on health care workers and hospitals in conflict zones around the globe since 2015, as cataloged in a detailed new report from Johns Hopkins University. The consequences of these attacks have been devastating…

Attacks on health care workers and medical infrastructure were recorded in 19 countries in just over a year of warfare. The attacks were as varied as they were widespread…

There have been virtually no consequences for the perpetrators of these attacks. Regardless of who is committing these atrocities, says Leonard Rubenstein, who coordinated and edited the report…For more than 150 years, international law has deemed these attacks on medical personnel and infrastructure illegal. The Geneva Conventions provide strict rules for warring parties: Attacks must differentiate between military targets and civilian objects, hospitals can’t be taken over for military purposes, and health professionals cannot be punished for providing health care. “A deliberate attack on a health facility is a war crime—it’s true under the Geneva Conventions and the International Criminal Court,” says Rubenstein. When it comes to crimes against health professionals, he says, “There haven’t been prosecutions, and there should be.”

I’ll second that emotion. It’s not a new accusation against any of the human rights “champions” in the West. France, England, any former colonial power – the United States took over the role of Imperial Copper after the Brits trudged back from Empire. All have been guilty. Perhaps not as often as any of the newsprint evildoers; but, the hometown press ain’t too picky about telling the truth about how we defend the American way of life in someone else’s country halfway around the world, eh?

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