U.S. forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Afghanistan last year, destroying it and killing and injuring scores of medical personnel and patients. But the air strike didn't amount to a war crime because it was caused by "unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures," and “other factors,” U.S. military authorities said today.
The service members were unaware that they were striking a hospital, military officials said in the report. It's not a war crime if you just goof up and accidentally bomb the shit out of a well-known trauma care facility, clearly identified, which exists in a war zone to help innocent civilians.
“16 American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike,” reports the New York Times.
A sign honors 14 medical personnel killed when a U.S. airstrike destroyed the MSF hospital in Kunduz. REUTERS
From Reuters' account today:
Forty-two people were killed and 37 were wounded during an Oct. 3 strike that destroyed the hospital run by the international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), known as Doctors Without Borders in English.
An initial U.S. investigation in November found that U.S. forces had meant to target a different building in the city of Kunduz and were led off-track by a technical error in their aircraft's mapping system.
"The investigation concluded that certain personnel failed to comply with the rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict," General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in a news briefing on Friday to release the final report. "However, the investigation did not conclude that these failures amounted to a war crime."
"U.S. strike on Afghan hospital in 2015 not a war crime: Pentagon" [Reuters]
Previously on Boing Boing:
• "US warplane shot at survivors fleeing Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports"
• "Obama apologizes to aid group for bombing hospital. MSF: Thanks, but we want an investigation"
The Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, remains a burnt ruin about six months after it was destroyed by an American airstrike, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/ Josh Smith
Afghan guards stand at the gate of MSF hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz. REUTERS
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