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Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2017

ICC prosecutor requests probe for alleged crimes by U.S. and Afghan forces, CIA and Taliban

nsnbc : Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, asked judges to authorize an investigation into allegations in Afghanistan into allegations including rape and torture by the U.S. military and CIA, war crimes by Afghan security forces, and crimes against humanity by the Taliban.

Fatou Bensouda_ICC_2017_(archives)Bensouda’s announcement on Monday marked the first time the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda went after U.S.-Americans for alleged war crimes. Ironically, the United States is a member of the Court but neither the United States, or the other permanent UN Security Council members China and Russia, recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction over its citizens.

Many are likely to expect a showdown between the ICC and Washington. However, many others are likely to perceive Bensouda’s initiative as a move that detracts attention from the ICC’s history of selective prosecution, knowing that the U.S. does not recognize the western-dominated Court’s jurisdiction, while the ICC could target Taliban and Afghan security forces without running into another “image problem”.

As well as alleged crimes by American troops in Afghanistan, Bensouda wants to investigate CIA operatives for their roles in secret detention facilities in Afghanistan and other countries that are court members.

In a summary of her request, Bensouda said that ‘information available provides a reasonable basis to believe’ that U.S. military personnel and CIA operatives ‘committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.’

The ICC Prosecutor added that the Taliban and its allies are suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes ‘as part of a widespread and systematic campaign of intimidation, targeted killings and abductions of civilians’ perceived as supporting the government or opposing the Taliban rebels.

Afghan security forces are, in turn, suspected of involvement in ‘systematic patterns of torture and cruel treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan detention facilities, including acts of sexual violence,’ Bensouda said.

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. The Court has drawn international criticism for apparent selective prosecution and what could be described as a pro-NATO bias. Bensouda’s unprecedented move to also go after U.S military and CIA personnel will be watched closely.

CH/L – nsnbc 22.11.2017

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