Afghan delegation heads to The Hague for talks with ICC officials

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Tolo News): A delegation led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar left for The Netherlands to hold talks with the International Criminal Court prosecutor. Justice Minister Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Acting Attorney General Zabihullah Kalim, and a number of senior government officials and judiciary and security experts are part of the delegation, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) operates under the Rome Statute, and Afghanistan has been a member of the Tribunal since 2003. The International Criminal Court shall use its complementary jurisdiction to assist the Member States in dealing with international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, the statement says.
The statement says that based on the principle of complementarity jurisdiction and at the request of war victims and human rights organizations, the ICC has gathered complaints on alleged commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the last years of imposed war in Afghanistan and demands practical and direct investigation thereof.
In accordance with its international obligations, the Afghan government has already submitted its performance report to the Tribunal on investigating and prosecuting all relevant cases and intends during this visit to furnish further assurances to the ICC on Afghanistan’s willingness and action plan to address the alleged international crimes, the statement says.
To address crimes committed in the country following Afghanistan’s accession to the ICC and to prevent such crimes from happening in the future, the Afghan government will seek assistance and support from the Office of the ICC Prosecutor. The request [for assistance] will be made based on the principle of the country’s judicial independence and provisions of the Rome Statute, the statement says.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan seeks to strengthen the existing peace process and ensure immediate and permanent ceasefire, by securing ICC’s cooperation with Afghanistan’s judiciary organs in addressing crimes and preventing them from happening in the future, the ministry said. The ministry said that the two sides will discuss the mechanisms for deferral of investigations to the Afghan judiciary organs and establishing technical and capacity building cooperation.
This comes as the United States last month lifted sanctions on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) senior members, including a prosecutor who had launched an investigation into alleged war crimes by US military personnel in Afghanistan.
Announcing the decision, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that assessment concluded that the measures adopted by the previous administration “were inappropriate and ineffective.” The Trump administration had imposed financial sanctions and a US visa ban on the ICC’s Gambian-born chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda last year after she launched an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan, according to US media reports.

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