Targeting health care has become a deliberate military strategy. How can the international community make conflict parties respect the rules of war?
Tobias Vestner, Security and Law Cluster Leader, and other experts discuss the increased targeting of health care in a recent article of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, one of the world's leading public health journals. “The main goal [of attacks against health-care facilities] is to terrorize and punish people who are suspected of cooperating with the opposition forces”, Tobias Vestner notes. He believes that attacks on health care make a mockery of international law and the institutions that uphold it. He considers that the current legal framework to protect health-care facilities is adequate. Now that decision makers and the public are increasingly aware of the alarming phenomena, the most pressing challenge is to identify effective measures to prevent deliberate attacks against health care.