By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda and her team met a high-level delegation from Afghanistan, including Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar, in a bid to achieve justice for the Afghan people by holding perpetrators of “atrocity crimes” accountable.
According to a statement issued by the ICC, a full day of discussions were held with officials from the foreign ministry, the justice ministry, the Attorney General’s Office, the Supreme Court and the National Security Department.
At the meeting, detailed presentations provided further insights into investigative steps taken or planned by the Afghan authorities and an opportunity for the ICC to seek clarifications on a number of discussion points, the statement read.
Bensouda and FM Atmar pledged to work together.
“I have great admiration for the courage and resilience of the people of Afghanistan who have withstood tremendous adversity through decades of conflict and violence. They deserve tangible justice without delay”, stated Bensouda.
“I look forward to continuing our constructive exchanges with the Government of Afghanistan, which was exemplified by today’s discussions, as we work towards determining how justice may best be served through joint collaborative efforts with full commitment to our respective independent duties and responsibilities under the Rome Statute”, she added. FM Atmar said “this was a historic and very constructive meeting. The Government of Afghanistan is grateful to the ICC Prosecutor for hosting our high-level delegation to address the investigation and prosecution of all international crimes in Afghanistan”.
He also said that “at this decisive moment for our country’s future, we have made encouraging progress in charting the way forward to ensure that no crimes will go unpunished. With our government’s unwavering commitment to human rights and justice, we are confident that with full cooperation with the Prosecutor, we can jointly advance the cause of justice for all of the victims of the long and devastating conflict.”
Zabihullah Karimullah, Afghanistan’s Attorney General who also participated at the meeting added: “Our meeting with the ICC Prosecutor was very useful for discussing the constructive ways in which we can cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor and for sharing information about the cases that Afghanistan is investigating and prosecuting at all levels. We look forward to continuing our positive exchanges and collaboration to guarantee that there will be no impunity for international crimes.”
The ICC meanwhile said it was appreciative of Afghanistan’s expressed commitment and the steps taken towards addressing accountability for atrocity crimes and securing justice for victims in Afghanistan in close collaboration with the ICC.
The ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire; Mali; Georgia, Burundi; Bangladesh/Myanmar, Afghanistan and Palestine.
The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bolivia; Colombia; Guinea; the Philippines; and Venezuela; and has recently completed its preliminary examinations of the situations in Ukraine and Nigeria, which are pending requests to seek authorisation to proceed to investigation.