February 16, 2018
A human rights group says the International Criminal Court (ICC) has received over one and a half million statements of alleged war crimes from Afghan citizens in a span of three months.
The Human Rights and Eradication of Violence organization said on Thursday that the ICC had received 1.7 million statements since it began collecting material three months ago.
Abdul Wadood Pedram of the organization said each of the 1.7 million statements included multiple victims, meaning that the actual number of the individuals seeking justice could be several millions.
The Taliban and the US and its allies are among the main targets of the suits over crimes committed since the occupation of Afghanistan in 2001.
“It shows how the justice system in Afghanistan is not bringing justice for the victims and their families,” Pedram said.
The ICC has not given details about the victims or organization providing information.
“I have the names of the organizations, but because of the security issues, we don’t want to name them because they will be targeted,” Pedram said.
The ICC was established in 2002 with a mission to investigate war crime allegations across the globe. The body can only look into cases in Afghanistan that allegedly occurred after May 2003, when the country accepted ICC jurisdiction.
In November last year, ICC chief prosecutor called for a formal investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan.
At the time of Bensouda’s announcement, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon described the investigation “wholly unwarranted and unjustified,” adding that “our overall assessment is that commencement of an ICC investigation will not serve the interests of either peace or justice in Afghanistan.”
The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. That invasion overthrew a Taliban regime in power at the time. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and incumbent Donald Trump.
Recently, the US military officially acknowledged that there are some 2,600 more troops in the war-torn country than the 8,400 previously reported.