Doctors Without Borders has failed to secure a single country to support its call for an independent investigation into the Oct. 3 U.S. attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, according to Jason Cone, the group’s U.S. executive director.
The White House also gave the group a cold shoulder despite President Obama’s normally effusive support for non-governmental humanitarian groups.
Of 76 countries that are part of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission that could call for an investigation, “unfortunately none of them stepped forward publicly to endorse the investigation or pushing at least publicly for the U.S. Government to consent to it,” Cone told The Daily Caller News Foundation during a sparsely attended rally across from the White House.
While the rally was intended as a public protest of the attack, the gathering outside the White House also symbolized its rejection by the Obama administration.
The group was forced to hold its rally at Lafayette Square and was unable to deliver any of the 540,000 signed petitions that called for an international “war crimes” tribunal against the United States for the Kunduz attack in which 30 people died and 27 were wounded.
Doctors Without Borders, known globally as Medecins Sans Fronteres or MSF, had sought a meeting at the White House but was turned down by the White House Office of Public Engagement, which is led by Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s long-time confidant and his special adviser, according to Cone.
With the exception of one phone call from President Obama to MSF international president Dr. Joanne Liu shortly after the attack, the group has had no official or unofficial communication from the White House, according to Cone.
“We haven’t received any kind of official response from them,” he said as they attempted to deliver boxes containing the signed petitions calling for an investigation. MSF had sent letters calling for the administration to accept an “independent investigation” to President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
An MSF spokeswoman said that they would send the petitions to the White House electronically.
President Obama agreed to financially compensate the families, and the Pentagon has pledged to help rebuild the 140-bed hospital in the provincial capital of Kunduz. Cone described the payments as “reparations.”
In a Nov. 5 initial MSF report on the attack, the group formally asked the Obama administration to accept an investigation by the unknown commission.
The fact-finding commission has not been recognized by many major powers including the United States, France, India, Pakistan and China as well as Afghanistan where the attack took place.
In its 24 years of existence, the commission has never undertaken an international investigation. It has two part-time employees, according to Matthias Lanz, a member of the Secretariat in Switzerland in an interview with TheDCNF. The group meets once a year.
Twenty countries of the 76 governments represented on the commission must agree before any investigation can be undertaken.
Cone said of the fact no country supported his group’s call for a tribunal that he thinks “that raises also a lot of questions as to governments’ general commitment to these laws of war.”
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