The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected the request by Fatou Bensouda, the court’s prosecutor, to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003.
The court concluded that the prospect of any investigation and prosecution is extremely limited because the US, Afghan authorities and the Taliban would not cooperate.
Despite the refusal to investigate, Bensouda’s office said it will continue to consider all available legal remedies.
Last month, the US secretary of Mike Pompeo, said Washington would revoke or deny visas to ICC staff seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by US forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere. On April 5, Bensouda confirmed that her US visa had been revoked.
Param Preet Singh, the associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the decision was a “devastating blow for victims who have suffered grave crimes without redress.”
“Getting countries to cooperate with the court is a real challenge, but this decision is an invitation to governments to create hurdles to stop the ICC from acting,” Singh added.