05:13, March 05 263 0 theguardian.com

2020-03-05 05:13:04
Senior ICC judges authorise Afghanistan war crimes inquiry

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 ruling by the ICC’s appeals chamber is likely to infuriate the Trump administration, which has condemned the request from the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to examine the actions of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Last year the ICC rejected the request and said any investigation and prosecution was unlikely to be successful because the expectation was that those targeted, including the US, Afghan authorities and the Taliban, would not cooperate.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said at the time that 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. Bensouda later confirmed that her US visa had been revoked.

On Thursday the ICC’s appeals chamber said the lower court had misinterpreted some of the court’s rules, and it declared that the investigation should be allowed to go ahead. It also lifted some restrictions previously imposed on the scope of the inquiry.

Reading out the decision, the chair of the appeals tribunal said: “The prosecutor is authorised to to commence investigation in relation to events dating back to 2003 as well as other alleged crimes [related to] Afghanistan.”

More details soon …