BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


ICC prosecutor leaves US out of Afghan probe

ICC prosecutor leaves US out of Afghan probe

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) new prosecutor said yesterday (Sept 27) he would focus on the Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan’s actions in Afghanistan instead of alleged US crimes.

politicscrimedeath
By AFP

Tuesday 28 September 2021, 09:36AM


The ICC prosecutor specifically mentioned the deadly August 26 attack on Kabul airport claimed by IS-K in which 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghan civilians were killed. Photo: AFP

The ICC prosecutor specifically mentioned the deadly August 26 attack on Kabul airport claimed by IS-K in which 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghan civilians were killed. Photo: AFP

Karim Khan asked judges to relaunch the court’s probe into Afghanistan, which was paused last year at Kabul’s request, saying the Taliban’s takeover meant war crimes would no longer be investigated properly.

But rights defenders reacted with fury after Khan, who took office in June with a vow to reform the ICC, announced that he would “deprioritise” the investigation into American forces and concentrate on Islamist groups.

The Hague-based ICC’s Afghan probe has long enraged Washington, and prompted the US administration of president Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Khan’s predecessor Fatou Bensouda.

Khan said “current de facto control of the territory of Afghanistan by the Taliban... represents a fundamental change in circumstances necessitating the present application” to reopen the investigation.

The now-deposed government in Kabul had asked the ICC in early 2020 to pause its inquiry while it probed war crimes domestically. The court can step in where member states are unable or willing to prosecute.

The ICC’s limited resources and the need to focus on cases most likely to result in convictions meant he would now narrow his focus in Afghanistan, Khan added.

Gravity and scale’

“I have therefore decided to focus my office’s investigations in Afghanistan on crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (“IS-K”) and to deprioritise other aspects of this investigation,” he said.

This was because of the “gravity, scale and continuing nature of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the Islamic State”, Khan said.

The ICC launched a preliminary probe there in 2006, with the mandate to investigate crimes dating back to when Afghanistan joined the court three years earlier.

Bensouda sought permission for a formal investigation in 2017, saying there was “reasonable basis to believe” war crimes had been committed by both the Taliban, and by US forces in Afghanistan and the CIA in secret detention centres abroad.

ICC judges rejected the opening of an investigation in 2019 saying it “would not serve the interests of justice” but appeals judges then gave the go-ahead in 2020 - only for the probe to be deferred at Afghanistan’s request.

Washington had long been hostile to the ICC, of which it is not a member, over the probe into Afghanistan. US forces left the country at the end of August after 20 years.

But while Khan said the ICC would “remain alive to its evidence preservation responsibilities, to the extent they arise” on US crimes, the focus would now be on Afghanistan’s new rulers and their IS-K rivals.

Shame’

The prosecutor added that the Taliban’s takeover itself “may constitute an unconstitutional transition of power” and added that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that persons affiliated with the Taliban committed crimes against humanity.”

Reports of the Taliban’s release of “thousands of prisoners allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda and IS terror groups... does not support the notion that the Taliban will genuinely investigate”.

The ICC prosecutor also specifically mentioned the deadly August 26 attack on Kabul airport claimed by IS-K in which 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghan civilians were killed.

The decision to end the ICC focus on US abuses in Afghanistan was greeted with fury in some quarters.

“Stunned,” tweeted Katherine Gallagher, a lawyer for Afghan victims of what they say was torture by US forces, adding that Khan had given them no advance warning of the move and they only found out when they read a press release.

“Next time I’m told about “victim-centered” #ICC by court officials or diplomats, academics... #SHAME”, added Gallagher.

Amnesty International campaigner Samira Hamidi said a US drone strike days before the pullout that wiped out 10 members of an Afghan family showed that the ICC “needs to revisit this decision and hold the US accountable too.”

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

Why I need an insurance when I can pay myself ?? Amazing to see Thailand showing the human factor...(Read More)


Wan Org Pansa brings alcohol ban

Again, the COVID bans haven't stopped the super-rich operators from openly selling alcohol, why ...(Read More)


Income distribution vital in Phuket tourism recovery, says Governor

"Income distribution"? Look around Patong today. Even with business beginning to open up, ...(Read More)


Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

Hospitals and Insurance companies are in cohoots with each other hence triple pricing , Thai price, ...(Read More)


Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

Maybe the hospitals are fed up being stiffed by non-paying, non-citizens....(Read More)


Vaccine certificates available via app

Oh good. It looks like Christy Sweet has been vaccinated and can now go find another country to live...(Read More)


Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that many of the participating Thai insurance companies are ...(Read More)


Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

Just out of curiosity. I wonder how many Thais even have health insurance past the joke that is the ...(Read More)


Long-stay expats mandatory health insurance jacked to B3mn

The original sum of 400,000 Bt was far too low, especially if you have to go to ICU and be intubated...(Read More)