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HRW: ICC should expedite inquiry of Afghanistan international crimes

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy group] on Sunday urged [news release] the prosecutor's office [official website] of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] to expedite inquiry into international crimes committed in Afghanistan [BBC profile]. In November the ICC released the Report on Preliminary Examination Activities [text, PDF] finding that over 14,300 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2007 and that violence against women has increased. The report also stated that armed anti-government groups and government armed forces have reportedly recruited and used children in attacks. The HRW said that the Afghanistan situation has been under analysis by the ICC since 2007 and that given the alleged ongoing commissions of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC should now expedite their fact-finding mission to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has been the target of much criticism [JURIST op-ed] regarding its human rights issues, especially in the wake of the War on Terror [JURIST backgrounder]. In November the HRW reported [news report] that the Afghanistan Justice Ministry [official website] had proposed new provisions to the nation's penal code to allow for stoning as punishment for adultery. In September UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called on the Afghan government to strengthen humans rights efforts [JURIST report] in preparation for presidential elections in April 2014 and the departure of the International Security Assistance Force [official website] in late 2014. In July a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] mid-year report indicated [JURIST report] a 23 percent rise in the number of Afghan civilian casualties over the first six months of 2013 as compared to the same period last year. In May UNAMA and UN Women urged [JURIST report] Afghanistan's government to fully respect and defend the fundamental rights of women and girls by ensuring the implementation of and respect for women's rights legislation blocked by parliament [JURIST report].

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