In what forum can non-fighting entities operating in conflict zones (such as medical or humanitarian aid organizations) settle disputes with sovereign countries about wartime attacks that harmed their teams or facilities? The state-centric structure of international law in general, and of existing dispute resolution mechanisms in particular, creates a gap between the available dispute resolution schemes and the growing need of non-fighting entities operating in conflict zones for an adequate forum to settle their disputes with both state and non-state parties to the armed conflict. The chapter demonstrates this gap through an analysis of the legal dispute between Doctors Without Borders and the United States, resulting from the latter’s attack on Doctors Without Borders’ hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October 2015. The analysis of conflict resolution efforts following the attack on the hospital illustrates the limitations of the existing regime and its inadequacy to current day battlefield disputes. Based on this analysis, the Chapter suggests moving away from criminal investigations, in favour of a preventive fact-finding approach that focuses on future prevention and on organizational reforms.
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