International Criminal Court investigation in Afghanistan

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Situation in Afghanistan
The seal of the International Criminal Court
The seal of the International Criminal Court
File no.02/17
Date opened5 March 2020 (2020-03-05)
Incident(s)War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
Crimeswar crimes:
crimes against humanity:
Status of suspect

The International Criminal Court investigation in Afghanistan or the Situation in Afghanistan is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes and crimes against humanity that are alleged to have occurred during the war in Afghanistan since 1 May 2003, or in the case of United States Armed Forces and the CIA, war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania or Lithuania.[1][2] On 5 March 2020, the investigation was authorised to officially begin.[3]

Investigation[edit]

From 20 November 2017 to 31 January 2018, the ICC collected representations by victims in relation to their claims of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Taliban and affiliated armed groups, war crimes by the Afghan National Security Forces, and war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania by United States Armed Forces and the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[1] Information about allegations of crimes committed by other international military forces in Afghanistan was also sought.[1]

In 2019, the request by Fatou Bensouda, the ICC chief prosecutor, to open an investigation was rejected at the pretrial level on the grounds that the chance of a successful prosecution was low, much time had passed, Afghan and US authorities were uncooperative, and the investigation wouldn't "serve the interests of justice". On 5 March 2020, after an appeal against the decision, the investigation was authorised to proceed. Judge Piotr Hofmański stated that the court has jurisdiction, since Afghanistan is party to the Rome Statute, and that the preliminary examination showed "reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes had been committed in Afghanistan".[3]

Reactions[edit]

In April 2019, the United States (US) cancelled Bensouda's visa in response to the ICC investigation in Afghanistan, on the grounds that the US does not wish claims of war crimes by US military personnel to be investigated by the ICC.[4]

On 11 June 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the signing of Executive Order 13928 by US President Donald Trump,[5] establishing economic sanctions and visa travel restrictions against ICC lawyers and investigators as well as journalists providing evidence of war crimes by US citizens and military troops.[6] Pompeo claimed that the ICC is a kangaroo court.[7]

On 2 September 2020, Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the ICC, had sanctions imposed on them by the United States in response to the ICC investigation in Afghanistan. Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch criticised the imposition of sanctions, stating that they "[mark] a stunning perversion of US sanctions, devised to penalize rights abusers and kleptocrats, to persecute those tasked with prosecuting international crimes".[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Focus: Alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Afghanistan since 1 May 2003". International Criminal Court. 2019-04-09. Archived from the original on 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  2. ^ Bowcott, Owen (5 March 2020). "Senior ICC judges authorise Afghanistan war crimes inquiry". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b "ICC authorises investigation into alleged Afghanistan war crimes". Al Jazeera English. 2020-03-05. Archived from the original on 2020-03-05. Retrieved 2020-03-05.
  4. ^ "US issues visa ban for ICC chief prosecutor following Afghanistan probe". Middle East Eye. 2019-04-05. Archived from the original on 2019-07-07. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  5. ^ White House press release
  6. ^ Gramer, Robbie; Detsch, Jack (11 June 2020). "Trump Order Treats International Prosecutors Like War Criminals". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Afghan conflict: US sanctions 'kangaroo' ICC over war crimes probe". BBC News. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  8. ^ "US imposes sanctions on top international criminal court officials". The Guardian. 2020-09-02. Archived from the original on 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-09-04.