I.C.C. Allows Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry to Proceed – The New York Times,

I.C.C. Allows Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry to Proceed – The New York Times,

The decision by the International Criminal Court is the first time the prosecutor has been authorized to investigate U.S. forces.

A car bombing in September left a crater. in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Credit … Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times
  • March 5,
  • LONDON – The International Criminal Court ruled on Thursday that its chief prosecutor could open an investigation into allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by Americans, setting up a potential showdown with Washington.

    The ruling by the court in The Hague is likely to draw a strong rebuke from the United States, which does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Washington revoked the visa of the body’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, last year after she signaled her intentions to pursue the case.

    The court decision on Thursday is the first involving American forces. The I.C.C. was established more than years ago to seek justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The State Department could not immediately be reached for comment .

  • Having spent years collecting information on the Afghan war, Ms. Bensouda
    requested permission to open an investigation into claims of war crimes and crimes against humanity attributed to the United States military and intelligence forces, the Taliban and Afghan forces.

  • (The prosecutor has said
    that the court had enough information to prove that US Forces had “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” in Afghanistan in and 2009, and later in clandestine CIA facilities in Poland, Romania and Lithuania. the wide-ranging investigation would also look into allegations against the Afghan government forces, which are accused of torturing prisoners; as well as those against the Taliban and antigovernment forces. ‘mission in Afghanistan has documented the killings of more than , (0 civilians by the Taliban since 2018, including nearly 7, 02 0 targeted killings. Yet, last year, a U.N. report found that U.S. and Afghan forces had killed more civilians
    than the Taliban did. A pretrial chamber at the court rejected Ms. Bensouda’s request in April, arguing that a successful prosecution was unlikely because the United States and the Afghan government, which has set up its own investigation unit, were unlikely to cooperate.

  • Prosecutors appealed the ruling, and appeals judges at the court ruled on Thursday that the investigation could proceed.
  • “The prosecutor is authorized to commence an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan since May 1, , as well as other alleged crimes that have a nexus to the armed conflict in Afghanistan, ”said Piotr Hofmanski, the presiding judge of the appeals panel. The ruling came days after the United States signed a deal with the Taliban
    to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan after nearly two decades of conflict.

  • sought to pressure the court not to prosecute United States citizens, arguing that doing so would threaten American sovereignty and national security interests. In , John Bolton, then the national security adviser, denounced the court as “illegitimate.”He said : “We won’t cooperate with the ICC We will provide no assistance to the I.C.C. And we certainly will not join the I.C.C. We will let the I.C.C. die on its own. ” He added, “If the court comes after us, we will not sit quietly.”