Afghanistan: Why has the ICC excluded the US from war crimes probe?

The call by prosecutor Karim Khan to resume an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into potential war crimes committed in Afghanistan is a development many human rights defenders are applauding after the Taliban takeover of the war-torn country.

Until now the investigation covered crimes alleged to have been committed on the territory of Afghanistan since May 1, 2003, as well as other actions linked to the US-led ”war on terror” that may have happened elsewhere since July 1, 2002.

Alleged perpetrators include the Taliban and other militant groups but also Afghan, American and international armed forces and the CIA for its renditions and so-called ”black sites” — clandestine interrogation sites — in Lithuania, Romania and Poland.

But Khan went further than seeking to reopen the investigation into ”crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K)” which had been deferred at the request of the former Afghan government.

He additionally stated that he would ”deprioritize other aspects of this investigation” — the allegations against American and Afghan personnel — angering many.

The International Federation for Human Rights says the ICC ”should not exclude groups of victims or crimes” within its jurisdiction. Raquel Vazquez Llorente, the organization’s permanent representative to the ICC, has urged the prosecutor to ”ensure that accountability in the investigation already opened is pursued without further delay.” Läs artikel