Reports of US war crimes committed during, and in the aftermath of, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 provide a “reasonable basis” for further investigation, the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] determined in a report [text, PDF] released Monday. The report says that members of the US military appear to have subjected at least 61 people to “torture, cruel treatment, [and] outrages upon personal dignity” in furtherance of US military goals in Afghanistan, largely in 2003 to 2004. Further, the CIA “appears to have subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape.” While the US is not a party to the ICC, individuals could face prosecution for war crimes committed within a member state, such as Afghanistan.
Other countries have also faced accusations of war crimes in Afghanistan. In September a policing unit in Afghanistan set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by UK soldiers stationed in the war-torn country reported that it had received around 600 complaints [JURIST report] of ill treatment and abuse occurring between 2005 and 2013. Members of the Royal Military Police are investigating the allegations, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her concern that the allegations may be false claims against soldiers. A UK Ministry of Defense spokesperson said that where there are credible complaints an investigation would be conducted. Last year a Warsaw military court acquitted four Polish soldiers [JURIST op-ed] of war crimes over the killing of six civilians in Afghanistan in 2007. The soldiers were nonetheless found guilty of the lesser offense of failing to carry out a military order.