The family of Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan in July 2021, filed a petition Tuesday before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against several high-level Taliban leaders and commanders.
Reuters had placed Siddiqui with the Afghan Special Forces in Spin Boldak district in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. Several reports and investigations confirmed that Siddiqui was illegally captured, tortured and murdered by the Taliban. Indian authorities stated that his body was mutilated, including by publicly running a heavy vehicle over his body.
The journalist’s family alleged that the Taliban tortured and killed him because he was a journalist and an Indian national. They also alleged that his murder constitutes a crime against humanity and a war crime. The family’s lawyer, Avi Singh, stated that Siddiqui’s murder was an international crime.
They stated that the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate and try Taliban members responsible for his death due to the absence of rule of law in Afghanistan. Singh said, “As the Taliban strives for international legitimacy, it must face accountability for its past actions.”
The ICC complaint identified six prominent leaders of the Taliban and other unnamed local commanders as the perpetrators. Chief Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid, also one of the accused, stated that the Taliban authorities were sorry for his death and were unaware of how he was killed.
In March 2020, the ICC, having jurisdiction under the Rome Statute, had allowed an ICC prosecutor to investigate Article 5 crimes committed in Afghanistan since May 2003. The prosecutor subsequently deferred the investigation to the government of Afghanistan under former President Ashraf Ghani, according to Article 18(2) of the Rome Statute.
However, following the Taliban’s seizure of control over Afghanistan in August 2021, the prosecutor sought to resume his investigation of war crimes committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The ICC prosecutor will likely include Siddiqui’s death if this investigation is resumed.