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News ID: 90077
Publish Date : 10 May 2021 - 21:29
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KABUL (Press TV) – The outgoing prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has met with a high-level Afghan delegation to discuss a probe into war crimes and crimes against humanity in the war-ravaged Asian country, notably committed by U.S. military and intelligence personnel.
The court said in a statement on Sunday that Fatou Bensouda met with the delegation led by Afghanistan’s foreign and justice ministers on Friday in The Hague, where the court is based.
The statement said the Afghan delegation pledged to work with the court to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities.
"At the meeting, detailed presentations provided further insights into investigative steps taken or planned by the national authorities in Afghanistan and an opportunity for the (prosecutor’s office) to seek clarifications on a number of discussion points,” it added.
Bensouda, who is leaving her job in June and will be replaced by British human rights lawyer Karim Khan, said she would continue to work with the Afghan government on "how justice may best be served through joint collaborative efforts” while still fulfilling her own duties under the tribunal’s rules.
"I have great admiration for the courage and resilience of the people of Afghanistan who have withstood tremendous adversity through decades of conflict and violence,” She was quoted as saying. "They deserve tangible justice without delay.”
Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar described the meeting as "historic” and "very constructive”.
"At this decisive moment for our country’s future, we have made encouraging progress in charting the way forward to ensure that no crimes will go unpunished,” the top Afghan diplomat said.
Bensouda wants to investigate possible crimes committed between 2003 and 2014 including mass killings of civilians by the Taliban, as well as U.S. troops and members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The ICC investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan was given the go-ahead in March last year.
In 2006, the ICC’s prosecutors opened a preliminary probe into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Asian nation since 2003.
In 2017, prosecutor Bensouda asked judges to allow a full-blown probe, not only into Taliban and Afghan government personnel but also international forces, U.S. troops and members of the CIA.
Bensouda’s move had angered former U.S. administration of Donald Trump, which revoked the Gambian-born chief prosecutor’s visa as part of broader restrictions on ICC staff probing American or allied personnel.
Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned in 2018 that the U.S. would arrest ICC judges if the court pursued an Afghan probe.
Trump had subsequently imposed sanctions on the top prosecutor, but the measures were revoked in April after U.S. President Joe Biden took office.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a ruling Taliban regime in 2001. American forces have since remained bogged down in the country through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Biden.
Biden has now announced the schedule to complete the drawdown of U.S. troops by September 11.
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