Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court reported today that they have amassed evidence that the NATO troops in Afghanistan have caused “serious harm” against detainees, involving both physical and psychological abuse by the soldiers.
The revelation came in the ICC’s annual report on preliminary investigations, and faulted internal Pentagon investigations into the abuse, saying they never rise significantly up the chain of command, nor yield any convictions of the abusers.
ICC investigations into abuse in Afghanistan are likely to prove unwelcome for US officials, as the US is not a member of the court, though with many of the other nations involved in the occupation active members and Afghanistan itself joining the Rome Statute in 2003, such investigations are inevitable.
The preliminary report also detailed abuse by the Taliban, confirming they are also committing war crimes, but this is likely to be a much less controversial finding, and the implication both of NATO forces in major abuse, and the report that internal investigations are largely useless, are likely to fuel some major soul-searching in some of the nations involved, and likely an angry backlash from the US.
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