ICC appeals judges to rule on Afghan war crimes investigation

THE HAGUE (HRNW) – International Criminal Court appeals judges will on Thursday rule whether the ICC’s prosecutor can investigate allegations of war crimes by U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan’s conflict, a case that has triggered diplomatic retaliation by Washington.

A lower chamber at the ICC last April rejected lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an official inquiry into alleged atrocities by all parties in the conflict including U.S. troops, Afghan government forces and Taliban militants.

The prosecutor has asked the appeals panel to overturn that decision. In their ruling, the judges said they were blocking her request because the chance of a successful prosecution was small due to a lack of cooperation from Kabul and other “key states” including the United States.

A preliminary examination of the conflict in Afghanistan has been ongoing at the ICC since 2006.

In response to the case, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed travel restrictions and other sanctions against ICC employees a year ago.

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