International Prosecutor Seeks to Resume War Crimes Probe of US, Afghan Troops

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The chief prosecutor of the Intercontinental Criminal Court sought urgent clearance

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The chief prosecutor of the Intercontinental Criminal Court sought urgent clearance Monday from the court’s judges to resume investigations of war crimes and crimes from humanity in Afghanistan, indicating that less than the country’s new Taliban rulers “there is no lengthier the prospect of genuine and successful domestic investigations” in the region.

Judges at the international court docket approved an investigation by Prosecutor Karim Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, in March last year. The probe covers offenses allegedly committed by Afghan government forces, the Taliban, American troops and U.S. overseas intelligence operatives relationship again to 2002.

The final decision to examine Americans led to the Trump administration slapping sanctions on Bensouda, who remaining place of work more than the summer time at the end of her 9-year expression.

The investigation was deferred last yr right after Afghan authorities asked to consider over the circumstance. The ICC is a court docket of last resort, established up in 2002 to prosecute alleged atrocities in international locations that can’t or will not convey perpetrators to justice — recognized as the theory of complementarity.

Khan said Monday that he now ideas to aim on crimes committed by the Taliban and the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic Condition team, adding that he will “deprioritize” other elements of the investigation.

“The gravity, scale and continuing nature of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the Islamic Condition, which include allegations of indiscriminate attacks on civilians, focused extrajudicial executions, persecution of girls and ladies, crimes versus youngsters and other crimes influencing the civilian population at huge, demand from customers concentration and good resources from my office environment, if we are to build credible cases able of being proved over and above affordable question in the courtroom,” Khan said.

He made distinct mention of the Aug. 26 assaults near Kabul’s airport in the course of the chaotic evacuations subsequent the Taliban’s takeover. The attacks killed dozens of Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.

On his final decision to no extended prioritize other areas of the probe, together with allegations of crimes by Individuals, Khan said his business “will continue to be alive to its proof preservation obligations, to the extent they occur, and promote accountability attempts in just the framework of the principle of complementarity.”

In 2016, prior to trying to find authorization to open a complete-scale investigation in Afghanistan, ICC prosecutors explained in a report that U.S. troops and the CIA might have tortured and mistreated folks in detention facilities in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

The investigation at first also took goal at allegations of crimes by forces of the then-Afghan authorities.

Patricia Gossman, the associate director for Asia at Human Rights Look at, informed The Involved Push it was a “really disturbing statement by the prosecutor to say the investigation will only prioritize some of the parties to the conflict — and in particular seemingly to ignore totally the really significant allegations versus U.S. forces and CIA.”

She mentioned that “impunity for all those crimes and other folks committed by the former Afghan govt is 1 explanation why we are exactly where we are these days in Afghanistan.”

Announcing the final decision very last calendar year to impose sanctions on Bensouda and one particular of her best aides for investigating the United States and its allies, then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed of the court docket: “We will not tolerate its illegitimate tries to topic Americans to its jurisdiction.”

Khan had currently place Afghanistan on detect that he was closely checking the state in the aftermath of the Taliban’s seizure of energy. He reported Monday that “I continue being dedicated to deploying the ideal and obtainable assets at my disposal to make sure independent and impartial investigations. Victims and survivors in Afghanistan deserve no fewer.”

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