South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, is disappointed of the decision taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 12 April 2019 to not investigate the situation in Afghanistan, pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute, concluding that an investigation at this stage would not serve the interests of justice, thereby rejecting the Prosecutor’s request.
SAHR notes that the Prosecutor had sought the ICC’s intervention to investigate alleged crimes committed by the Taliban, other Afghan armed groups, Afghan Forces, the US Forces, and by other international armed forces. SAHR further notes that a large number of victims had come forward to present their case, amidst serious threat to their life.
In the decision the chamber reportedly found that there is sufficient information that war crimes and/or crimes against humanity were committed and no national proceedings were undertaken in this regard. However, the Chamber found strong evidence that an investigation at this point of time would not succeed further, citing non-cooperation of relevant parties and budgetary constraints.
Prior to the decision, the media reported statements by US officials of measures to be taken against the ICC officials if such an investigation proceeded.
SAHR believes that the ICC’s decision will result in denying the sufferings of the victims, especially when there is no national mechanism to ensure justice for them. International mechanisms such as the ICC exists for ensuring justice for the victims of grave and heinous crimes. SAHR believes that this decision also questions the Court’s future and its credibility by abandoning the rights of victims to seek justice.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,