Press release on the rejection of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor's request to investigate into the situation in Afghanistan



Kabul, April 13, 2019

On November 3, 2017, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, called for a judicial authorization to investigate the grave violation of human rights and humanitarian law in Afghanistan. This initiative of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor was welcomed by the Afghan people, especially the victims' families and human rights organizations.

Human rights organizations, victims’ families and Afghan people who have suffered for a long time from the persistence of violence and war crimes committed by various groups in the absence of a mechanism to deal with cases of human rights violations, became so hopeful on the initiative of the ICC aiming to investigate the human rights situation in Afghanistan and deal with cases of human rights violations, and they declared their willingness to cooperate with the ICC in this regard. About a thousand complaints and documents concerning cases of human rights violations were collected by human rights organizations and victims ' families and sent to the ICC Prosecutor's Office, requesting for a fair and just hearing of the cases. Now, the ICC judges ' decision announced on 12.4.2019 that investigations into war crimes cases in Afghanistan cannot serve the interests of justice, not only disappointed the victims of war crimes, but it will also contribute to the continuation of the culture of impunity.  Meanwhile, Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the AIHRC, regretted the decision of the ICC, calling for continued efforts to ensure justice and accountability for crimes and human rights violations in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan became a member of the Rome Statute in 2003 and, therefore, if the national justice and judicial institutions have no capacity or interest in dealing with human rights violations, the ICC has jurisdiction and responsibility to handle the cases. Since the domestic judiciary in Afghanistan has been unwilling or unable to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations, it is imperative that the ICC should do so, in accordance with its jurisdiction and responsibility, in order to ensure justice, end the culture of impunity and strengthen accountability in the country. It should be noted that the ICC’s investigation will result in a reduction of crimes in the country, and enhance the ability of the Afghan government to deal with crimes against humanity, war crimes and gross human rights violations.

The decision of the ICC that investigating into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan does not serve the interests of justice in current stage is a pity and a matter of regret for the AIHRC, according to AIHRC, this decision does not serve the interests of justice, actually, it contributes to culture of impunity.