Find out all about today’s judgment of the #ICC Appeals Chamber authorising the Prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court in relation to the situation in #Afghanistan⤵ https://t.co/9OLSTiBpXe
— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) March 5, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the ICC appeals chamber’s decision as “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body.”
“It is all the more reckless for this ruling to come just days after the United States signed a historic peace deal on Afghanistan — the best chance for peace in a generation,” he said in a statement. “This is yet another reminder of what happens when multilateral bodies lack oversight and responsible leadership, and become instead a vehicle for political vendettas.”
The ICC has issued 34 arrest warrants and heard 27 cases since its founding nearly 18 years ago, with some cases having more than suspect, according to the court’s tallies. Sixteen people have been detained in the ICC’s detention center and appeared before the court; 15 others remain at large. Charges were dropped against three people who died.
ICC judges have issued nine summonses to appear. There have been four acquittals and eight convictions in the court’s history — all of them directed against Africans suspected of war crimes.
Bensouda applauded the ICC appeals chamber’s decision to authorize an investigation in Afghanistan, calling it an important day for the cause of international criminal justice, both in Afghanistan and, more broadly, around the world.
“The investigation will be independent, impartial and objective. This is what the office is legally mandated to do, and it is what we are committed to doing,” Bensouda said in a statement.
“My office will follow the evidence. There are no timelines for the duration of the investigation. Each investigation at the ICC is unique and has its own complexities,” she said. “The many victims of atrocious crimes committed in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan deserve to finally have justice. Today, they are one step closer to that coveted outcome.”
Amnesty International also hailed the ICC decision to allow the investigation to proceed in Afghanistan.
“This is an historic moment where the International Criminal Court has reversed a terrible mistake and decided to stand by the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all sides to the conflict in Afghanistan,” Solomon Sacco, Amnesty International’s head of international justice, said in a statement.
“The ICC,” he said, “represents the first true hope of justice for the victims of conflict, who have been shamefully ignored for years, including in the recent peace agreement that has nothing to say about the crimes committed against them.”