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Kabul opposes probe into alleged war crimes

6 Dec 2019 - 08:26
6 Dec 2019 - 08:26

KABUL (Pajhwok): A lawyer for the Afghan government has voiced aversion to a proposed international investigation into possible war crimes and other abuses committed during the conflict.

Appearing before International Criminal Court (ICC) judges in The Hague on Thursday, Rodney Dixon suggested Afghan courts should be allowed to try alleged war criminals.

The ICC is hearing an appeal against an April verdict rejecting a plea for an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and the US troops and intelligence personnel.

Radio Free Europe quoted the top human rights lawyer as arguing that Afghanistan had set up an international crimes unit to try cases involving militants and security forces in domestic courts.

The ICC, set up in 2002, has jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity if they have been committed by nationals of a signatory state or if they happened on the territory of one of its members.

Afghanistan is a member of the court, but the United States is not. The Trump administration, insisting the ICC cannot prosecute American troops, has ruled out issuing visas to investigators.

President Trump’s lawyer argued on Wednesday that prosecutors were wrong to seek a probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan that specifically targeted US service members.

Jay Sekulow, speaking as a friend of the court in the case, said: “This is a direct move on US interests. … I think it would be naive to think that’s not the case.”

After the hearing, he told reporters that the case specifically targeted US soldiers and intelligence officers in the case. The United States was not an ICC member, he contended.

On behalf of scores of victims, Lawyer Fergal Gaynor hailed the hearing an historic day for accountability in Afghanistan. The victims he represented were united in wanting an investigation, he added.

PAN Monitor/mud

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