(CNN)  Doctors Without Borders, calling the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, an “attack on the Geneva Conventions,” is asking for an independent investigation by a never-before-used international commission.

The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission has been in existence since 1991. It requires a request by one of the 76 nations that have signed on to it for it to begin its work. Its job is to investigate whether international humanitarian law has been violated.

Doctors Without Borders — also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF — has said it believes the bombing was a war crime.

“Governments up to now have been too polite or afraid to set a precedent,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, said Wednesday. “The tool exists, and it is time it is activated.”


For charity, ‘the biggest loss of life … in an airstrike’

The attack in the embattled city Saturday killed 12 medical staff members and at least 10 patients, three of them children. It was “the biggest loss of life for our organization in an airstrike,” Liu said.

Another 37 people were wounded, according to the global charity group, which works in conflict zones to help victims of war and other tragedies.

Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has said the hospital in Kunduz was hit accidentally during an American airstrike Saturday. The Pentagon is carrying out an investigation, as are NATO and Afghanistan.

“If errors were committed, we will acknowledge them,” Campbell said. “We will hold those responsible accountable, and we will take steps to ensure mistakes are not repeated.”

Doctors Without Borders wants a full and transparent investigation by an independent agency.

“Their description of the attack keeps changing — from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government,” the group said.

The United States has changed its account of what brought on the airstrike.

What the U.S. said and when

Saturday, 3 October — Col. Brian Tribus, spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct 3, against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation.”

Sunday, 4 October — Gen. John Campbell, U.S. military chief in Afghanistan

“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct 3, against insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces in the city of Kunduz. The strike was conducted in the vicinity of a Doctors Without Borders medical facility.”

Monday, 5 October — Gen. John Campbell, U.S. military chief in Afghanistan

“We have now learned that on October 3, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. forces. An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from the initial reports, which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”

Tuesday, 6 October — Gen. John Campbell to the Senate committee

“On Saturday morning our forces provided close air support to Afghan forces at their request. To be clear the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision, made within the U.S. chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility … I assure you that the investigation will be thorough, objective and transparent.”

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