Could US face 'criminal liability' for torture program? ICC greenlights inquiry into Afghanistan war crimes
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a probe into alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan by the US and other parties, potentially exposing Washington to legal repercussions for its nearly 20-year occupation.
Hailed as a landmark ruling, the panel of judges at The Hague reversed a decision by the court's Pre-Trial Chamber denying the ICC prosecutor's request to open a formal inquiry into crimes committed in connection with the conflict in Afghanistan. The previous decision not to pursue an investigation was reportedly influenced by the belief that the United States would not cooperate with the proceedings.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that there were ample grounds to begin an investigation into Taliban crimes, as well as an alleged torture program operated by Afghan authorities, the US military and the CIA. The court agreed on Thursday, authorizing the investigation.
The Center for Constitutional Rights described the ruling as "the first time senior US officials may face criminal liability for their involvement in the torture program" in Afghanistan.