News ID: 97425
Publish Date : 06 December 2021 - 21:34

KABUL (Dispatches) – The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) has turned its back on mounting criticisms over its probe into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, with its prosecutor defending omitting American troops from an investigation in Afghanistan.
Rights groups criticized Karim Khan’s decision in September to “deprioritize” the investigation into American troops, and focus instead on Afghanistan’s new rulers and the rival Daesh in Khorasan Province (Daesh-K), a Daesh affiliate.
“I made a decision, based upon the evidence, that the worst crimes in terms of gravity and scale and extent seem to be committed by the so-called Daesh [in] Khorasan and also the Taliban,” Khan told a meeting of ICC countries in The Hague on Monday.
“And I said I would prioritize these and I have asked the judges for authorization to carry out those investigations,” added the British prosecutor.
The ICC’s Afghan investigation into U.S. crimes had long enraged Washington, and prompted the administration of then-president Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Khan’s predecessor Fatou Bensouda.
The world’s only permanent war crimes court launched a preliminary investigation in Afghanistan in 2006, and Bensouda asked judges to authorize a full investigation in 2017.
Bensouda said there was “reasonable” suspicion of war crimes by the Taliban and U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the CIA in secret detention centers abroad.
The now-deposed government in Kabul then asked the court in early 2020 to pause its inquiry while it investigated war crimes domestically.
However, Khan in September asked judges to relaunch the process, saying the Taliban’s takeover in August meant war crimes would no longer be investigated properly.
Judges have asked for more clarity over who is officially in charge in Afghanistan before deciding.

* Comment: