The Coalition for Genocide Response welcomes the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to proceed with an investigation into alleged crimes, under the jurisdiction of the Court, in relation to the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, having been authorised by the ICC Appeals Chamber in March 2020.
As announced by the Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan QC, the investigation will focus on the actions of the Taliban and Islamic State of Khoroson (ISIS-K) in Afghanistan.
The Coalition for Genocide Response welcomes the investigations into the crimes, especially as recent months have seen evidence and serious risk of atrocity crimes, including of genocide against the Hazara community.
Considering the recent developments in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and ISIS-K’s legacy of atrocity crimes that have flourished in impunity for years, this focus is justified. This prioritisation is further affirmed by the limited resources of the ICC.
The ICC’s mandate to prosecute high-level perpetrators where States remain unable or unwilling is one that should be applied consistently and without fear or favour: as such it must not neglect the crimes of other alleged perpetrators in the region including nationals of non-States Parties in Afghanistan at the relevant time. The ICC ought to consider atrocities allegedly perpetrated by other actors when the situation allows.