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Civilian health-care facilities, personnel and patients are protected by international humanitarian law. Whether indiscriminate or intentional, attacks on health care constitute a war crime under the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. Yet intention is an important criterion for accountability under the UN General Assembly’s 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which identifies intent to inflict specific harm on civilians and the facilities on which they depend as a violation of the “laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict”.

Competing Interests

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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