International court judges reject Afghanistan investigation

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2019

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday rejected a request to open an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan.

As Common Dreams reported, the ICC's decision to reject the request from ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to probe possible war crimes and crimes against humanity followed bullying efforts by senior members of the Trump administration-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton-who targeted ICC staff over the possible investigation.

That was thought to have been in response to her request to investigate possible crimes committed by United States forces in Afghanistan.

The time elapsed since the opening of a preliminary probe in 2006, Afghanistan's changing political scene and the "lack of political cooperation the prosecutor has received" was likely to grow scarcer should an investigation proceed, the judges said.

"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 ..."

In a statement released by the White House, President Trump hailed the decision "a major worldwide victory" and vowed a "swift and vigorous response" to attempted prosecution of any "American, Israeli, or allied personnel".

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions on ICC personnel involved in investigations of Americans; Bensouda's us visa has since been revoked.

The ICC's decision comes after the Trump administration threatened to take away the visas of officials seeking an investigation. 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.

In issuing its ruling not to proceed with the investigation, ICC judges said the investigation was unlikely to further the pursuit of justice because neither Afghanistan, nor the US, were expected to cooperate.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last month said the United States would deny or revoke visas to ICC investigators looking into abuses by US citizens and allies, also characterized it as a victory.

Bolton made clear that the administration's opposition to the court is unequivocal and based on a belief that it inherently conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.

Last September National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the ICC with sanctions if they pursued cases against USA citizens.

Some human rights advocates are slamming the decision as a unsafe precedent.

He, however, warned the court against trying to prosecute Israelis or Americans following a complaint by Palestinians, which have called for an ICC investigation of Israel.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised the decision.

"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", said Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights, headquartered in NY.

The ICC was established by a United Nations treaty in 2002, and has been ratified by 123 countries, including the UK.

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