ICC: Americans may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan

ICC prosecutors say there are preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague say there are preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004, Reuters reported on Monday.

In a report, prosecutors said there was a "reasonable basis to believe" that U.S. forces had tortured prisoners in Afghanistan and at Central Intelligence Agency detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.

"Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture," the prosecutors' office wrote, according to Reuters. It added that CIA officials appeared to have tortured another 27 detainees.

"These alleged crimes were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals," the report said. "They appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract 'actionable intelligence.'"

The prosecutors' office, headed by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said it would decide imminently whether to pursue a full investigation.

The results of a full investigation could potentially lead to charges being brought against individuals and the issuing of an arrest warrant, but the ICC is a court of last resort and would only bring charges if domestic authorities were not dealing adequately with allegations.

The United States occupied and patrolled large parts of Afghanistan during the hunt for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was eventually found in 2011 in a hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan.

ICC prosecutor also said crimes may have also been committed at CIA facilities in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, as individuals captured in Afghanistan were allegedly transferred to those sites.

The report found grounds to suspect all belligerents, including the Taliban and the Afghan government, had committed war crimes.

The United States is not a member of the ICC but Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Romania all are, noted Reuters, giving it jurisdiction over crimes committed on their territories.