ICC rejects investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan

The International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have rejected a proposal by its prosecutor to investigate alleged commitment of war crimes in Afghanistan — a proposal that drew anger from the United States.

The judges cited instability and the lack of co-operation with investigators in the country as the reasons for the rejection.

“The current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited,” the court said.

Recently the US had revoked the visa of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, on this issue. Following the decision, she said that her office is looking into “legal remedies.”

Her proposal was to investigate alleged crimes against humanity by the Taliban and alleged war crimes by Afghan National Security Forces and the US military and Central Intelligence Agency. The request was to include such crimes since 2003 when Afghanistan joined the court.

US president Donald Trump hailed the decision as a “major international victory”.

Criticising the decision, Human Rights Watch said that it denied the country’s victims a path to justice.

“The judges’ logic effectively allows member countries to opt out of cooperating with the court and sends a dangerous message to all governments that obstructionist tactics can put them beyond the court’s reach,” said Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

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