FP: ICC to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan

| 1 November 2016, 15:59

The Foreign Policy has claimed that the prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is ready to initiate a full investigation of a range of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, including some by U.S. personnel.

The ICC move would mark the first time that a formal ICC investigation has scrutinized U.S. actions and sets up a possible collision with Washington, the FP has said based on ‘several knowledgeable sources’. Multiple sources have indicated that the chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, will seek to initiate an investigation in the coming weeks, likely after the U.S. presidential election but before the end of the year.

U.S. officials visited The Hague recently to discuss the potential investigation and to express concerns about its scope, it added. Bensouda may also want to probe further the attack by U.S. forces on a Médecins Sans Frontières facility in Kunduz that killed several dozen people. Even once an investigation begins, it is not clear that the prosecutor would ever bring charges against Americans.

According to the report, any indictments related to Afghanistan would be months if not years away. The move on Afghanistan would come as the court is reeling from the decision of several African states to leave, including South Africa.

The United Nations estimates that more than 20,000 civilians have died in the country since 2009, the majority at the hands of insurgent forces. The Afghan government has viewed immunity as an important point of leverage in its efforts to broker cease-fires with opposition forces.