ICC prosecutor defends dropping US from Afghan war crimes probe

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor for Afghanistan has defended his decision to “deprioritize” the focus on the United States in an investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying that the “worst crimes” were committed by Daesh and the Taliban.

ICC’s prosecutor Karim Khan told a meeting of ICC countries that the decision was made based on evidence.

“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 Islamic State [in] Khorasan and also the Taliban,” he said.

ICC prosecutors also asked the judges to authorize the start of the investigation in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate said it has not committed any war crimes and accused the ICC of being biased.

“The Islamic Emirate has committed no war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan. In the last 20 years, we fought for an inclusive government,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

Meanwhile, international relations and political analysts said the United States should also be included in the investigation.

“In the past 40 years, these courts failed to carry out an impartial and comprehensive investigation into Afghanistan to make the criminals afraid of committing war crimes,” said Mahdi Afzali, an international relations analyst.

“US and NATO soldiers committed war crimes in their 20-year presence in Afghanistan. There are sensitivities inside ICC that prevent an investigation of these crimes,” said Ahmad Khan Andar, an international relations analyst.

The ICC launched a preliminary investigation into Afghanistan in 2006, and asked judges to authorize a full investigation in 2017.

In 2020, the former government of Afghanistan asked the court to pause its investigation, saying the government itself will investigate the issue.

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