Afghan government asks ICC to defer investigation into situation of Afghanistan
The Afghan government has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer investigation into situation of Afghanistan. In an official letter, issued by the Afghan embassy in the Netherlands, the Afghan government has requested the Prosecutor to defer investigation into situation of Afghanistan due to what it calls “the unprecedented effects of the accelerating pandemic of coronavirus.”
The call comes while on March 05, the ICC authorized an
investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by national or international
forces in Afghanistan, which includes allegation against the United States and
the Taliban militants.
“The Government of Afghanistan hereby formally requests
within the 30-day time limit that the Prosecutor defer to Afghanistan’s national
investigations and proceedings in accordance with the provisions of Article 18,”
reads an official letter, issued on March 26.
An ICC investigation into situation of Afghanistan comes at
a time when the Afghan government, under US-Taliban peace deal signed on 29 February,
2020, tries to reach a political settlement with the militant group whereas
Washington seeks to withdraw American forces from the country.
The Afghan government has already switched out a prisoner
swap with the Taliban. Afghan authorities say that among the Taliban prisoners—who
are under the custody of the government—there are notorious war criminals who
have been behind high-profile bloody bombings which have killed thousands of innocent
civilians in the capital Kabul over last couple of years.
Office of the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has confirmed that
Afghanistan has asked the Court to defer investigation.
A bumpy road ahead of ICC investigation
Since US-led military invasion in Afghanistan, the warring
parties have allegedly killed thousands of civilians including women and
children. The US forces, the Taliban, the most notorious group in killing
civilians, and the Afghan government forces are accused of killing innocent civilians.
According to UN records, over 100, 000 civilians have been killed and wounded
in the past 11 years.
As the Afghan peace process is expected to bring the Taliban
militants over a power-sharing table with the Afghan government, the question
of an ICC investigation into situation of Afghanistan lingers in a political limbo.
The Afghan government seemed reluctant to cooperate with the ICC while Washington
has signed a deal with the Taliban, aimed to end the longest US war in history.