According to an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, the US might be investigated for war crimes in Afghanistan. The New York Times, quoted Fatou Bensouda stating there is enough evidence to open an investigation for “war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by U.S. military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

In the yearly report published on November 14th, the US will more than likely be investigated for war crimes in Afghanistan, occurring mostly between 2003 to 2004.

As a result of its examination, the office has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that, at a minimum, the following crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction have occurred:

  1. Crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani Network;
  2. War crimes of torture and related ill-treatment by Afghan government forces, in particular the intelligence agency (National Directorate for Security), and the Afghan National Police;
  3. War crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.– page 44 of the report

The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that, in the course of interrogating these detainees, and in conduct supporting those interrogations, members of the US armed forces and the US Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape. These acts are punishable under articles 8(2)(c)(i) and (ii) and 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Statute. Specifically:

  1.   Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan between 1 May 2003 and 31 December 2014. The majority of the abuses are alleged to have occurred in 2003-2004.
  2.   Members of the CIA appear to have subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape on the territory of Afghanistan and other States Parties to the Statute (namely Poland, Romania and Lithuania) between December 2002 and March 2008. The majority of the abuses are alleged to have occurred in 2003-2004.- page 47 of the report

Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang

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