ICC judges reject Afghanistan probe; cite lack of cooperation

The ICC decision shows justice is dead for Afghanistan

In a surprising, and all the more welcome, move, the Hague-based solons this morning unanimously rejected a bid by the courts own chief prosecutor to open an investigation into whether our GIs and intelligence operators committed crimes in Afghanistan.

According to a media release about the decision, the three judge panel "concluded that an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice".

She had first requested to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan in 2017. The request was to include such crimes since 2003, when Afghanistan joined the court.

Reversing their position, they said in their 32-page decision that the political changes in Afghanistan and the lack of cooperation with the prosecutor would have hampered the investigation and prosecution, according to the release.

"T$3 he current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited ..."

"This is a major worldwide victory, not only for these patriots, but for the rule of law", the president said in a statement.

The US had revoked the entry visa for Fatou Bensouda in April.

Angered, President Donald Trump's administration said it would deny visas to any ICC members involved in probing U.S. troops and, last week, it revoked the visa of the Gambian-born Bensouda. They dont. It is to suggest that a pro-American decision from the ICC is like. how to put it?. the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the Trump administration on anything. National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the ICC with sanctions last September if they pursued cases against U.S. citizens.

The announcement by the court's Pre-Trial Chamber came a week after the United States revoked the entry visa of the senior ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

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In his statement, he called the ICC "illegitimate" and said it would be met with a "swift and vigorous response" if it tried to prosecute citizens of the U.S. or its allies.

"By closing the door on this investigation, the ICC judges have let political considerations outweigh the rights of victims to see their abusers held to account", Singh said.

Human rights groups warned that the decision would have repercussions well beyond Afghanistan.

"In the foreseeable absence of additional resources for the coming years in the court's budget, authorising the investigation would result in the prosecution having to reallocate financial and human resources", the judges said.

The court's decision acknowledges that 680 of the almost 700 applications from victims "welcomed the prospect of an investigation aimed at bringing culprits to justice, preventing crime and establishing the truth".

Congratulations are in order for President Trump — and Secretary of State Pompeo — in the wake of the latest news from the International Criminal Court.

"With its decision today, the International Criminal Court sends a risky message: that bullying wins and that the powerful won't be held to account", Center for Constitutional Rights lawyer Katherine Gallagher said, according to The New York Times.

He has called the day he un-signed the statute creating the ICC in 2002 on behalf of George W. Bush's administration his "happiest day in government".

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