Under Karim Khan, the new Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague-based Tribunal is not investigating possible war crimes committed by U.S soldiers in Afghanistan.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor on Monday said he was seeking approval to resume a war crimes investigation of Afghanistan, focusing on the actions of the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) militia.
A statement said the request was being made to the court’s judges in light of developments since the Taliban militants seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning advance last month.
The ICC had already spent 15 years looking into war crimes allegations in Afghanistan before opening a full investigation last year. Before she left the International Criminal Court (ICC), Gambian-born prosecutor Fatou Bom Bensouda had enforced the possibility of inquiry against American soldiers in war zones. The U.S reacted with sanctions by Donald Trump’s administration.
The tribunal’s new chief prosecutor, Britain’s Khan, said on Monday that the investigations in Afghanistan war crimes must focus on acts by the militant Islamic Taliban and ISIS terrorist militia. He justified this with the seriousness and extent of the targeted crimes.
The U.S government has welcomed Khan’s statement. But Afghan human rights activist Horia Mosadiq, who has been helping victims to support the ICC probe for many years, called the announcement “an insult to thousands of other victims of crimes by Afghan government forces and U.S. and NATO forces.”
Criticism, however, came from the human rights defense group Amnesty International. In making a case for U.S soldiers to be also investigated, the human rights organization mentioned the U.S drone attack in Kabul at the end of August, in which civilians were killed.
“This shows that the Criminal Court must also hold the UNITED States accountable,” according to Amnesty International.
The United States and other countries such as China, Russia, and Israel are not members of the international tribunal.