2ND LEAD (UPDATE)
SLA attacks hospital, 5 patients killed, 11 wounded
[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 March 2009, 16:13 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) attacked the makeshift hospital at Puthumaththa'lan with Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) in the early hours of Thursday between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m., killing five patients who were being treated at the Intensive Care Unit and causing injuries to 11 including two medical staff. Six patients who were already being treated for their injuries from shell attacks and 3 relatives of the patients were wounded in the RPG attack. The attack also destroyed part of the medicines recently brought to the hospital.
Makeshift hospital at Puthumaththa'lan
Surgical section and medical store sustained damage in the RPG attack by the SLA. The makeshift hospital was also attacked in the evening around 6:30 p.m., according to latest reports. RPG shells hit the building where wounded women and children were staying.
The shelling and RPG attacks continued throughout the day in Puthumaaththa'lan and other areas of the 'safety zone'.
Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that the civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a signatory to the First, Second and Third Geneva Conventions and it ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, by accession to it, on 23.02.1959.
Hospitals have come under attack several times. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka has openly stated that hospitals outside the 'safety zone' were legitimate military targets earlier. However, hospitals functioning within the 'safety zone' have also been attacked earlier.