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The prosecutor of the ICC has urged all parties in Afghanistan to adhere to Humanitarian Law

Legal Correspondent: Sameer Gupta

August 17, 2021: In a statement, Karim Khan noted that his office can exercise jurisdiction over any genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes committed in Afghanistan since he joined the court in 2003.

“I urge all hostile parties to fully respect their humanitarian obligations, including ensuring the protection of civilians,” Khan said, adding that he was concerned about reports of revenge killings and oppression of women and girls. Khan's appeal for comes after United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed similar concerns and the United Nations Security Council on Monday called for an end to the fighting in Afghanistan.

Khan became an ICC prosecutor in June, succeeding his predecessor Fatou Bensouda's lengthy investigation into possible crimes in Afghanistan from 2003 onwards. , and by US and CIA forces in 2004.

However, the court did not approve a formal investigation until March 2020, prompting then-US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Bensouda.

In May, the Afghan government asked Bensouda to drop his investigation, arguing that he had conducted it himself, focusing mainly on alleged crimes by the Taliban.

According to ICC rules, courts have the power to prosecute crimes committed on the territory of member states only when they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves.

It is not yet clear how Khan will conduct the current investigation.


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