ICC prosecutors seek resumed Afghan war crimes probe

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There is no set deadline for judges to rule on the prosecution’s request to resume the ICC investigation. A year into the Islamic Emirate’s rule, war crimes prosecutors in The Hague have urged judges to rule promptly on their request to resume investigations into atrocities in Afghanistan and warn that crimes are continuing, court documents showed.

The International Criminal Court’s Afghanistan investigation has been on hold for more than two years. In March 2020 the previous Afghan government had asked it to be suspended while they investigated suspected war crimes themselves.

In documents released on ICC’s website this week and dated Aug. 26, prosecutor Karim Khan argued Afghanistan’s request to suspend the probe should be rejected, citing a lack of effort by authorities there to pursue justice in domestic courts.

He said the Islamic Emirate “have not continued, cannot continue and do not intend to continue the relevant investigations and prosecutions” that formed the basis of the request for suspension by the ousted government. “To the contrary, the available information suggests that serious crimes within the jurisdiction of the court (…) continue to be committed,” he added, urging judges to allow the probe the be “promptly resumed.”

In September last year, Khan already announced he would ask judges to resume the probe into crimes by the Islamic Emirate and ISIS-K. He added prosecutors would “deprioritize” looking into suspected crimes by US forces and Afghan government troops.

Zabiullah Mujahid, Islamic Emirate spokesman responding to the ICC prosecutor remarks on resuming probe into war crimes in Afghanistan, said that Kabul does not support the decision, which may be a conspiracy against the Islamic Emirate. Mujahid said that a number of countries, especially the US, that were involved in the war in Afghanistan in the last twenty years and are accused of committing war crimes, rejected the investigation of this court.

In July, the UN mission in Afghanistan said that the ruling Islamic Emirate were responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and inhumane punishments in the months since they toppled the previous government and seized power after Washington’s withdrawal from the country. —Tolo News

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