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World Afghan foreign minister meets ICC prosecutors to discuss war crimes investigation

13:40  09 may  2021
13:40  09 may  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Counting the costs of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan

  Counting the costs of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — America’s longest war, the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan that started in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, killed tens of thousands of people, dogged four U.S. presidents and ultimately proved unwinnable despite its staggering cost in blood and treasure. This final chapter, with President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, has prompted a reckoning over the war’s lost lives and colossal expenditure.

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 "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.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) is seeking a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan . In a statement, Fatou Bensouda said "there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed". That investigation has examined crimes including intentional attacks against civilians, imprisonment and extra-judicial executions. "Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required to commence an investigation have been met "

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.

a man sitting on the side of a mountain: FILE PHOTO: U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan © Reuters/Goran Tomasevic FILE PHOTO: U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Atmar wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Mohammad Hanif Atmar, former Afghanistan National Security Adviser, speaks to the media after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission in Kabul © Reuters/OMAR SOBHANI FILE PHOTO: Mohammad Hanif Atmar, former Afghanistan National Security Adviser, speaks to the media after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission in Kabul

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.

Afghans fear US withdrawal could stifle progress as Taliban wait in the shadows

  Afghans fear US withdrawal could stifle progress as Taliban wait in the shadows It’s been almost two decades since the United States declared a war on terror. President Joe Biden announced withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Yet, the Taliban is stronger than any time since their fall in 2001. As troops return home, the group's power has raised concerns not only of terror reaching Americans at home but more so among the Afghans who are living under the group's shadow government, which controls large swaths of the country.

The International Criminal Court ( ICC ) has approved a probe into alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan by the US and other parties, potentially exposing Washington to legal repercussions for its nearly 20-year occupation. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that there were ample grounds to begin an investigation into Taliban crimes , as well as an alleged torture program operated by Afghan authorities, the US military and the CIA. The court agreed on Thursday, authorizing the investigation .

The chief prosecutor of the The International Criminal Court 's ( ICC ) has announced that she wants to start an official investigation . But in a report last year, the ICC prosecutors said the Taliban and its affiliates, Afghan authorities and members of the US armed forces and CIA may have committed war crimes . “In due course, I will file my request for judicial authorization to open an investigation , submitting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan ,” Bensouda said on Friday.

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.

U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda remains

  U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda remains As U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, efforts against a diminished Al Qaeda are in flux. Officials say the terrorist group could threaten the U.S. again.It was a tableau often seen in years past, but on this recent afternoon there was a crucial difference: The Afghans were alone, without the American forces that have backed them in a 20-year war.

The International Criminal Court ( ICC ) has rejected its prosecutor 's request to investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan . That was thought to have been in response to her request to investigate possible crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan . Explaining their unanimous decision, the three ICC pre-trial chamber judges said such an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice". Mr Trump said it was a victory "not only for these patriots, but for the rule of law".

Senior judges at the international criminal court have authorised an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan , overturning an earlier rejection of the inquiry. The ICC judges also approved that the scope of the investigation should include CIA black sites operated in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, where detainees were taken. The court had last year rejected the request to open an investigation and said any prosecution was unlikely to be successful because the expectation was that those targeted, including the US, Afghan authorities and the

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)

Vets, lawmakers say Biden administration not acting fast enough to help Afghans who face death from Taliban .
Advocates are pushing the idea of evacuating thousands of Afghans to Guam or other safe locations, where officials could vet them for U.S. resettlement.Advocates say that the Biden administration is moving far too slowly to protect tens of thousands of Afghans whose lives are in mortal danger because of their association with the U.S. and Western organizations and that action must be taken now before the last troops pull out as scheduled in four months.

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This is interesting!