MSF calls for independent inquiry into attack on Afghan hospital

A US airstrike on Saturday killed 12 medical doctors and 10 patients including three children.

In this photograph released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on 3 October 2015, fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike. Picture: AFP / MSF.

JOHANNESBURG - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has now called for an independent international fact-finding commission to be established to probe the deadly US bombing of its hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan, which it deems a war crime.

The medical charity says the commission, which can be set up at the request of a single state under the Geneva Convention, would gather facts and evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan.

Only then would organisation decide whether to bring criminal charges for loss of life and damage, it said.

The US airstrike on Saturday killed 12 medical doctors and 10 patients including three children.

MSF International President Joanne Liu says there's no commitment to an independent investigation yet.

"If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war," Liu told a news briefing in Geneva.

The US military took responsibility on Tuesday for the air strike calling it a mistake and vowing to bring the perpetrators to account.

MSF said it sent a letter on Tuesday, to the 76 countries who signed up to the additional protocol of the Geneva Convention that set up the standing commission in 1991.

Neither the US or Afghanistan are signatories and Francoise Saulnier, MSF lead counsel, said that the consent of the states involved is necessary.

MSF is in talks with Switzerland about convoking the international commission of independent experts.

"Today we say enough, even war has rules," Liu said.

Additional reporting by Reuters