ICC backs off investigation of possible U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan

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Amsterdam (dpa) The International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed a request for an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan that would have called for trying U.S. soldiers in The Hague.

ICC judges found that “an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice,” according to a statement issued on Friday.
Prosecutors wanted to see an investigation of crimes against humanity and war crimes possibly perpetrated by U.S. soldiers and CIA operatives as well as Afghan security forces and the Taliban starting from 2003.

The court said in November 2017 after analysing evidence gathered by prosecutors since 2006 that there was “reasonable basis to believe’’ war crimes had been carried out by Taliban, Afghan and U.S. forces. Some of the evidence related to U.S. “secret detention facilities.”
While the U.S. does not recognise the court, Afghanistan does, making a prosecution of U.S. soldiers possible in this instance.

The ICC judges denied prosecutors authorisation to pursue the investigation further, saying that the difficult situation on the ground in the conflict-stricken state make “prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited.”

 

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened ICC employees and judges with sanctions over the possible legal proceedings.
The chief prosecutor in the investigation, Fatou Bensouda, recently had her U.S. visa revoked.

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