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ICC prosecutor seeks Afghanistan war crimes probe

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said Friday that her office is seeking an investigation [press release] into potential war crimes in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Bensouda is asking the ICC to authorize an investigation into any war crimes and crimes against humanity from July 2002. The request asks for an authorization to investigate those who are responsible for the most serious crimes and to prosecute them at the ICC.

The prosecutor acknowledged that the investigation will need the help of the Afghanistan government as well as the international community to succeed.

For decades, the people of Afghanistan have endured the scourge of armed conflict. Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required under the Rome Statute to commence an investigation have been met. In due course, I will file my request for judicial authorisation to open an investigation, submitting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan. It will be for the Judges of the Court's Pre-Trial Chamber, constituted by the Presidency, to decide whether I have satisfied them that the Statute's legal criteria to authorise opening an investigation are fulfilled.
The request comes as the ICC presidency has assigned [press release, PDF] the situtation in Afghanistan to Pre-trial Chamber III [official website].

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