Washington: After the International Criminal Court decided not to proceed with an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, the Trump administration hailed it as vindication of their insistence that the court has no jurisdiction over US forces who might have been implicated in a probe.
The judges’ decision appeared to end the quest for accountability for victims of abuses following the US invasion of Afghanistan. The prosecutor was particularly interested in looking at the alleged abuse of detainees taken in by US forces and the CIA.
Though the judges said there was a basis to believe crimes had been committed, a lack of cooperation from the United States, Afghan authorities and the Taliban made the chances of a successful prosecution remote.
President Donald Trump called the decision “a major international victory, not only for these patriots, but for the rule of law”.
“Any attempt to target American, Israeli or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response,” he added in a statement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last month said the United States would deny or revoke visas to ICC investigators looking into abuses by US citizens and allies, also characterised it as a victory.
“The United States will always protect allied and American military and civilian personnel from living in fear from unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation,” he said in a statement.
The US refusal to cooperate in any investigation by the court was one of the key reasons the judges rejected the 2017 request by chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan. Bensouda said on April 5 that her visa to the United States had been revoked.