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ICC prosecutor seeks probe into Afghan war crimes

ICC prosecutor seeks probe into Afghan war crimes

Nov 20, 2017 - 23:34

KABUL (Pajhwok): Judges were Monday requested by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to authorize an investigation in Afghanistan of allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested the Court's Judges to order an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in the context of the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan.

Bensouda alleged crimes by the US military, CIA, Taliban and Afghan forces, particularly the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan spy agency.

The Office of ICC Prosecutor said there was a reasonable basis to believe crimes within the court's jurisdiction had occurred in Afghanistan. The ICC prosecutor accused the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani Network of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Afghan National Security Forces in particular, members of the National Directorate for Security ("NDS'") and the Afghan National Police ("ANP") could be prosecuted for committing war crimes.

The announcement marked the first time Bensouda has gone after Americans for alleged war crimes. The United States is not a member state of the court, but its nationals can be charged with crimes committed in countries that are members.

In a summary of her request she said that "information available provides a reasonable basis to believe" that US military personnel and CIA operatives "committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period."

She added that the Taliban and its allies were suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes "as part of a widespread and systematic campaign of intimidation, targeted killings and abductions of civilians" perceived as supporting the government or opposing the Taliban rebels.

Afghan security forces are, in turn, suspected of involvement in "systematic patterns of torture and cruel treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan detention facilities, including acts of sexual violence," Bensouda said.

Established in 2002, the International Criminal Court is the world's first permanent court set up to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Former US President Bill Clinton signed the Rome treaty that established the court, but President George W. Bush renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.

There is no set timeframe for judges to rule on Bensouda's request. Victims have until Jan. 31 next year to make their views about the possible investigation known to judges who will assess the request.