Another war atrocity has occurred, this time in the Syrian city of Idlib where it appears that a hospital has been bombed, killing at least twelve people. It appears that Russian forces now fighting on behalf of Syrian president Assad are behind this latest attack. Like in Kunduz, Afghanistan the medical director says that it looks like the hospital was directly targeted. This was apparently the third such attack on a hospital since the Russian intervention began.
This latest bombing underscores the urgent need to have in place a permanent, independent, and international body that has the authority to immediately investigate allegations of war crimes and be able to take offending nations to an international tribunal.
War is always an abomination. The only thing that prevents it from descending into complete barbarism are the limits that are placed on it by agreements such as the Geneva conventions on the protections of civilians in war that prohibit things like torture and the targeting of civilians and protected facilities like hospitals and essential infrastructure.
It is unfortunately the case that nowadays many take a cynical attitude towards these war crimes, shrugging it off with flip comments like ‘war is hell’ and the like, as long as it is not ‘their’ side that is at the receiving end of the crimes. It is this that results in a spiraling downward, with each side justifying its actions by referring to the crimes of the other.
You can be sure that Russia will oppose any independent investigation into these hospital bombings and will use the US’s refusal to allow investigations into the Kunduz bombing as its justification. They will both oppose setting up any the kind of investigative system. And the supporters of each side will let them get away with it and refuse to hold their own leaders to account.