Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Recommended Reads

The International Criminal Court’s Afghanistan Investigation – Challenges and Constraints Assessment

2 min

Raoul Wallenberg Institute, April 2024

Here the institute’s abstract of the text:

This article [by former AAN colleague Ehsan Qaane] embarks on a comprehensive analysis of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into the Afghanistan situation, marking a critical juncture in the global pursuit of justice for egregious international crimes. Amidst Afghanistan’s decades-long conflict, characterised by widespread and systematic human rights abuses and a prevailing culture of impunity, the ICC’s involvement signifies a beacon of hope for accountability and victim reparation. However, this investigation unfolds within a complex tapestry of jurisdictional, political, and operational challenges that are both emblematic of broader issues in international criminal justice and unique to Afghanistan’s socio-political landscape.

This research dissects the ICC’s strategic responses to these challenges, including case selection and prioritisation, against a backdrop of limited resources and geopolitical pressures. It reveals the inherent tensions between the lofty ideals of international law and the gritty realities of its implementation. Notably, the investigation’s scope is constrained by the ICC’s jurisdictional boundaries, which exclude numerous violations pivotal to Afghanistan’s affected communities and underscore the need for a more inclusive approach to justice.

This article argues that despite the ICC’s efforts, the path to fulfilling its foundational goals—combating impunity, preventing atrocities, and ensuring justice for survivors—is fraught with obstacles. It posits that the effectiveness of the ICC’s mission in Afghanistan hinges on integrating complementary international and local accountability mechanisms. Such a holistic approach is vital for overcoming the ICC’s operational limitations and achieving meaningful justice for Afghanistan’s victims and survivors.

This is particularly important as the importance of this investigation, as the report underlines, “seeks to address the legacies of past and current mass atrocities, charting a course towards a more just and accountable order in Afghanistan. Moreover, its “extends beyond the borders of Afghanistan, offering a litmus test for the efficacy of international legal mechanisms in conflict-affected regions and attempting to make the USA accountable for the allegations against its CIA personnel and military forces.”