International Tribunal ready to investigate war crimes of Taliban and US soldiers in Afghanistan
Thousands of people affected by Taliban violence. Numerous detainees under torture in Afghan prisons.
The Aja (AsiaNews / Rfe) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has made a formal request to open an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says the crimes were committed not only by the Taliban, but also the US military, the CIA and the Afghan security forces. The request was submitted on 20 November.
According to the court prosecutor, the Taliban and their allies are suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes that affected 17,700 people between 2009 and 2016. Documents detail these crimes as "part of a widespread and systematic campaign of intimidation, targeted murders, and kidnapping of civilians. "
Afghan security forces are accused of being involved in "systematic torture and cruel treatment regimes against some Afghan-held prisoners, including acts of sexual violence."
As for the United States, Bensouda states that documents in their possession show that there are "reasonable grounds for believing" that US military and CIA agents committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, insulting to personal dignity, rape and sexual assault "against at least 78 (54 and 24 respectively) prisoners detained in Afghanistan, particularly between 2003 and 2004.
The United States does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Court on its own citizens, but they may be charged with crimes because Afghanistan recognizes the International Tribunal. The US State Department claims it is considering the request, but to oppose the involvement of the court in Afghanistan. "A ICC survey on US staff would be completely unpopular and unjustified," read a statement, which added that it would "not serve the interests of either peace or justice in Afghanistan."
Established in 2002, ICC is the first ever World Court to persecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. As a rule, the ICC is the last resort for high-grade suspects, when national authorities do not act or take legal action against them because they are cannot or are reluctant to.
The Afghan government and the Taliban have not yet responded to the charges.
There is no deadline for ICC judges to express themselves on the prosecutor's request, but victims have until January 31, 2018 to send judges their opinion on the proposed investigation.