The ICC and Afghanistan – Time to End Impunity?

7 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2020

See all articles by Mehdi J. Hakimi

Mehdi J. Hakimi

Harvard University - Harvard Law School; Stanford Law School

Date Written: August 31, 2018


Following the Taliban’s announcement of their annual spring offensive, violence has ratcheted up across Afghanistan. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Afghan conflict resulted in more than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2017 alone. The mounting atrocities in Afghanistan have finally prompted the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider launching a formal investigation.

On November 20, 2017, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, requested judicial authorization to commence a formal investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003. The 181-page request was submitted by Bensouda’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber.

In its request, the OTP sought authorization to investigate alleged crimes committed by the Taliban and their affiliates, the Afghan National Security Forces, and the U.S. military and the CIA. This essay surveys the OTP’s charges against these actors and provides preliminary reflections on the task before the Court.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Afghan War, International Criminal Court, ICC, Rome Statute, Taliban, ISIS, Daesh, Al-Qaeda, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Persecution, International Law, International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Justice, Injustice, Impunity

Suggested Citation

Hakimi, Mehdi J., The ICC and Afghanistan – Time to End Impunity? (August 31, 2018). Yale Journal of International Law, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Mehdi J. Hakimi (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Law School

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