Afghan clinic bomb­ing ‘not a war crime’

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Wash­ing­ton: A US air strike that de­stroyed a med­i­cal char­ity’s clinic in north­ern Afghanistan, killing 42 peo­ple, was not a war crime, the Pen­tagon has said. Con­firm­ing dis­ci­plinary charges against 16 US ser­vice per­son­nel, Gen­eral Joseph Vo­tel said the “tragic strike” was due to hu­man and tech­ni­cal er­rors. A US gun­ship mis­took the hospi­tal at Kun­duz, run by Medecins sans Fron­tieres (MSF), for a build­ing that had been seized by Tal­iban fight­ers.

No-one will face crim­i­nal charges. But as the er­ror was “un­in­ten­tional”, it did not con­sti­tute a war crime, Gen­eral Vo­tel said, an ac­cu­sa­tion MSF has pre­vi­ously lev­elled at the US. In­stead, those pun­ished were hit with mea­sures such as sus­pen­sion from com­mand and let­ters of rep­ri­mand, which could end their mil­i­tary ca­reers. Gen­eral Vo­tel, the head of US Cen­tral Com­mand, gave de­tails of a US in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­scrib­ing a crew tired from days of fight­ing tak­ing off earlier than planned with­out the cor­rect prepara­tory in­for­ma­tion. About 10 min­utes into the raid, MSF doc­tors on the ground rang US of­fi­cials plead­ing for them to stop, but it was an­other 20 min­utes be­fore they ceased, he said. BBC

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