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International Criminal Court orders Afghanistan probe

18 Jun 2018 Daily Mail Online

Fatou Bensouda, top prosecutor at the ICC, has requested permission to launch a full investigation over the war in AfghanistanThe International Criminal Court has been asked to investigate the US military and CIA for alleged war crimes during the war in Afghanistan.The court's top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on Monday requested permission from judges to probe allegations of crimes allegedly committed by armed forces personnel and intelligence agents in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities around the world between 2003 and 2004.Ms Bensouda also requested permission to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani Network, and alleged war crimes by the Afghan National Security Forces. Ms Bensouda singled out the Afghan National Directorate for Security and the Afghan National Police for particular scrutiny.In her submission to judges, she wrote that there is 'a reasonable basis to believe' that members of the US military and CIA 'committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations.'The Taliban and their affiliates are accused of 'a widespread and systematic campaign of intimidation, targeted killings and abductions of civilians perceived to support the Afghan government and foreign entities, or to oppose Taliban rule.'





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Finally Afghan security forces, including the NDF and SNF, are charged with engaging 'in systemic patterns of torture and cruel treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan detention facilities, including acts of sexual violence.'A statement which appeared on the ICC website said: 'The situation in Afghanistan has been under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor since 2006. 

Ms Bensouda asked to probe allegations of 'rorture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against prisoners' by US forces and the CIA (file image)'After a comprehensive and careful scrutiny of the information available, the Prosecutor has determined that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.'If Ms Bensouda is granted permission to launch a full investigation, she will be granted powers to issue court summons and arrest warrants against those involved.The announcement marked the first time Ms Bensouda has gone after Americans for alleged war crimes and sets up a possible showdown with Washington.The United States is not a member state of the court, but its nationals can be charged with crimes committed in countries that are members. Richard Dicker, International Justice Director at Human Rights Watch, welcomed the request, saying it 'signals that victims there who have endured horrific crimes dating back to May 2003 may finally obtain some justice. 'The request to pursue abuses by all sides, including those implicating US personnel, reinforces the message that no one, no matter how powerful the government they serve, is beyond the law.'Established in 2002, the International Criminal Court is the world's first permanent court set up to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Rome treaty that established the court, but President George W. Bush renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.There is no set timeframe for judges to rule on Bensouda's request. Victims have until January 31 next year to make their views about the possible investigation known to judges who will assess the request. 

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