Afghan foreign minister meets ICC prosecutors to discuss war crimes investigation

  • World
  • Sunday, 09 May 2021

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Chris Sanderson, from Flemington, New Jersey shouts as he tries to protect an Afghan man and his child after Taliban fighters opened fire in the town of Marjah, in Nad Ali district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, February 13, 2010. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Afghan foreign minister and prosecutors from the International Criminal Court have met in The Hague to discuss the ICC's war crimes investigation in Afghanistan, both sides said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The ICC is investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since 2003 by all sides in the conflict, including by government forces, the Taliban, other armed groups, and U.S.-led forces.

Shortly after the ICC announced its investigation in March 2020, the Afghan government said it is conducting its own probe into some of the same alleged crimes and asked the international court to defer its investigation.

"We have made encouraging progress in charting the way forward to ensure that no crime goes unpunished," said Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar in a joint statement with the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor.

Atmar met prosecutors in The Hague, Netherlands, where the ICC is based.

Under ICC rules, the court only has power to prosecute crimes committed on the territory of member states when they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves.

In the joint statement on Sunday, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would continue to work with the government of Afghanistan on "how justice may best be served through joint collaborative efforts" while still fulfilling her own duties under the tribunal's rules.

Afghanistan's Attorney General Zabihullah Karimullah, who also attended, said that prosecutors had discussed information-sharing and cooperation.

Bensouda is still assessing Afghanistan's deferral request. In September 2020, the United States imposed sanctions on Bensouda for investigating whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

Conflict is still raging in Afghanistan, with security forces locked in daily combat with the Taliban who have waged war to overthrow the foreign-backed government since they were ousted from power in Kabul in 2001.

Although the United States did not meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban last year, its pull-out has begun, with President Joe Biden announcing all troops will be out by Sept. 11. Critics of the decision say the Islamist militants will try to return to power.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Japan gov't discussing quasi-state of emergency for Tokyo, surrounding areas -FNN
N.Korea fires suspected ballistic missile - Japan
Horses jump bonfires as Spain's purification ceremony returns after pandemic break
Ahead of election, Macron banks on rosy French economy, new jobs
Who’s watching? How governments used the pandemic to normalise surveillance
Australia, New Zealand step up efforts to aid tsunami-hit Tonga
Biden, Japan PM Kishida to hold bilateral talks on Friday-White House
French parliament approves vaccine pass
U.N. mission in Mali grounds flights amid sanctions restrictions
Anti-vaccine far-right rally attracts hundreds in Hungary

Others Also Read