In an investigation into the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, the ICC prosecutor has singled out the Taliban and the Islamic State.
The new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested to reopen an investigation into Afghanistan on Monday, focusing on the Taliban and the Islamic State-Khorasan organization, with alleged US crimes taking a second seat.
Following the Taliban’s takeover last month, Karim Khan, who took office in June, said the situation in Afghanistan meant war crimes were no longer likely to be investigated properly.
After Khan said that he will “deprioritise” the investigation of American soldiers, a probe that has long outraged Washington, a lawyer for alleged victims of US torture in Afghanistan said she was “stunned.”
The International Criminal Court’s investigation was placed on hold in 2020 when Kabul’s now-deposed government indicated it would try to probe war crimes claims on its own.
The court, which was established in 2002 to address the world’s worst atrocities, has the right to intervene when national governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute war criminals.
The Taliban’s “current de facto rule of Afghanistan’s territory, and its repercussions (particularly for law enforcement and judicial action in Afghanistan),” Khan stated, “represents a significant change in circumstances justifying the current application.”
Because of the ICC’s limited resources and the necessity to focus on cases that are most likely to result in convictions, Khan said he would now focus on Afghanistan.
“As a result, I have chosen to focus my office’s investigations in Afghanistan on alleged Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (”IS-K”) crimes, while deprioritizing other elements of this investigation,” he stated.
This was due to the “gravity, scale, and ongoing nature of alleged Taliban and Islamic State crimes,” according to Khan.
The prosecutor went on to say that the Taliban’s takeover “may represent an unlawful transfer of authority,” and that “there is a reasonable basis to assume that those linked with the Taliban committed crimes against humanity.”
The release of “thousands of captives purportedly related to Al-Qaeda and IS terror groups” by the Taliban “does not support the assumption that the Taliban will honestly investigate,” according to reports.
The ICC prosecutor also mentioned the devastating IS-K attack on Kabul airport on August 26 that took the lives of 13 US service members and over 100 Afghan civilians.
The Afghan probe has been one of the most contentious at the ICC.
Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, was sanctioned by President Donald Trump’s government over an investigation into the Palestinian territories and an investigation into Afghanistan.
Joe Biden, the current President of the United States, has lifted the embargo. Brief News from Washington Newsday.