MSF staff honour victims of US raid at Kunduz

Doctors Without Borders hold events in New York and Geneva to remember 30 victims of US military strike on its trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan, one month ago

MSF staff honour victims of US raid at Kunduz

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chants of "stop bombing hospitals" rang out at a memorial Tuesday for the staff of Doctors Without Borders killed in a US airstrike on an Afghan hospital last month. 

Some 250 people gathered at a Geneva park for the ceremony, with the organisation's president, Joanne Liu, warning that a full explanation of what led to the October 3 strike in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz city was the only way to stop similar future tragedies. 

"For us, it is really important that we keep the spotlight on it, because otherwise it will fall into what I call forgotten causes... meaning that targeting civilians will be a non-event," said Liu, head of the charity known by its French acronym, MSF

"This was not a non-event," she added. 

Three separate investigations -- led by the US, NATO and Afghan officials -- are looking into the strike that killed 30 people, but MSF wants an independent probe by an international fact-finding commission, based in Bern.

Some held up placards reading #Independent Investigation #Kunduz while others wearing white scrubs held 13 orange stretchers, each with a target attached to the middle, in a memorial to the MSFstaff who died in the raid in an area briefly captured by Taliban insurgents. 

Speaking to AFP after the ceremony, Liu said an independent probe was essential not to punish those responsible, but simply to establish the facts. 

"We are not after a state or another state. What we are after is the safeguard of medical humanitarian space in the chaos of war," she said. 

"What we want to know at this point is what happened and why did it happen... That is the only way we are going to be able to prevent occurences like this again," she said. 

Liu has previously described the bombing as an "attack on the Geneva conventions," and the charity has condemned the bombing as a war crime. 

She said MSF had so far received negligible backing for its desired independent probe and had been given no updates regarding the three ongoing investigations. 

The head of MSF Switzerland, Thomas Nierle, told AFP that he had little hope the inquiries would ultimately see any wrongdoers punished. 

"I think it's a complete illusion to think there will be some sort of justice," he said. 

The airstrike forced the closure of the trauma centre in Kunduz, which had been a lifeline in the war-battered region. 

US President Barack Obama has admitted the strike was a mistake, but the Pentagon has offered shifting explanations for what exactly went wrong.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Kasım 2015, 10:47