ICC Prosecutor Seeks to Resume Afghanistan War Crimes Probe

By Reuters
September 27, 2021 Updated: September 27, 2021

AMSTERDAM—The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday said he was seeking approval to resume a war crimes investigation into Afghanistan, focusing on the actions of the Taliban and the “Islamic State Khorasan” (ISIS-K).

A statement said the request was being made to the court’s judges in light of developments since the Taliban terrorists seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning advance last month.

The ICC had already spent 15 years looking into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan before opening a full investigation last year. That probe was put on hold by the Afghan government, which said it was investigating the crimes itself.

The Hague-based ICC is a court of last resort, intervening only when a member country is unable or unwilling to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide.

The fall of the internationally recognized Afghan government and its replacement by the Taliban represent a “significant change of circumstances,” new prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement.

“After reviewing matters carefully, I have reached the conclusion that, at this time, there is no longer the prospect of genuine and effective domestic investigations … within Afghanistan,” Khan said.

Judges will now review the request to resume the investigation, which had been examining alleged crimes by all sides in the conflict, including U.S. forces, Afghan government troops, and Taliban terrorists.