The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled that its chief
prosecutor Fatou Bensouda can open investigation of possible war crimes in
Afghanistan perpetrated by the U.S. troops, Taliban, and Afghan government.
The parties mentioned in the ruling have strongly opposed the
ICC move. The U.S is not a member state of the ICC and does not recognize its jurisdiction
while the Afghanistan government has refuted the ruling despite it being an ICC
According to the Washington Post, Bensouda sought ICC’s
authorization to investigate possible war crimes in Afghanistan in 2017.
However, the court abandoned the inquiry but on Thursday March 5, 2020, the ICC
reversed the decision giving Bensouda the go ahead to investigate war crimes in
She said there was reason to believe that the members of the
U.S. military and intelligence agencies had “committed acts of torture, cruel
treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against detainees
in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the ICC’s
decision “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution
masquerading as a legal body. It’s all more reckless for the ruling to come
just days after the Unites States signed a historic peace deal on Afghanistan,
which is the best chance for peace in a generation.”
Pompeo added in a news briefing that the United States will
take all necessary measures “to protect our citizens from renegade, unlawful
On the other hand, rights activists applauded the ICC ruling
with Solomon Sacco from Amnesty International stating that, “This is a historic
moment where the International Criminal Court has reversed a terrible mistake
and decided to stand by the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed by all sides to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The ruing occurs less than a week after the United States and
the Taliban signed a peace deal that called for the full withdrawal of U.S.
forces from Afghanistan within 14 months and for the Taliban to disavow terrorist