ICC prosecutor seeks authorization to resume Afghanistan war crimes investigation

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The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday said he was seeking approval to resume a war crimes investigation into Afghanistan, focusing on the actions of the Taliban and the ISIS-K militia.

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A statement said the request was being made to the court’s judges in light of developments since the extremist Taliban movement seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning advance last month.

The ICC had already spent 15 years looking into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan before opening a full investigation last year. That probe was put on hold by the Afghan government, which said it was investigating the crimes itself.

The Hague-based ICC is a court of last resort, intervening only when a member country is unable or unwilling to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

The fall of the internationally recognized Afghan government and its replacement by the Taliban represent a “significant change of circumstances,” new prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement.

“After reviewing matters carefully, I have reached the conclusion that, at this time, there is no longer the prospect of genuine and effective domestic investigations ... within Afghanistan,” Khan said.

Judges will now review the request to resume the investigation, which had been examining alleged crimes by all sides in the conflict, including US forces, Afghan government troops and Taliban fighters.

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