International Criminal Court Targets Taliban, Sidelines U.S. Investigation
The new International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan announced that the ICC is going to put aside its investigation of the U.S. and now is going to focus their efforts on the Taliban. Now that the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, the ICC will be investigating the Taliban and terrorist group ISIS-K. However, the Taliban is not going to let them into the country to investigate. So, the ICC is going to become a political court once again.
We are very familiar with the ICC acting as a political court. In December of 2019, I was at the ICC in the Hague defending the interests of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. We argued that the ICC had no jurisdiction to investigate the U.S. military, as we have our own internal systems to conduct investigations. Ultimately, the court concluded that the prosecutor at the time could actually investigate the United States. Fast forward to 2021, the new prosecutor has said the U.S. is not a priority here, and they want to use their limited resources to investigate the Taliban.
In the end, our position prevailed. Sometimes these victories don’t happen right away in court, but the result here is that the prosecutor has made the right decision . . . for the time being.
ACLJ Senior Counsel Andy Ekonomou explains how the ICC is once again playing politics:
It does become a political court. . . . It becomes a political court because they are playing politics with the U.S. and other nations. They are trying to insert themselves into areas where they do not have the jurisdiction to insert themselves. You made a very good and compelling argument regarding various issues before that court when I was present with you at the Hague in December when we did the argument. We were turned down and the prosecutor was allowed to proceed. But we now have a new prosecutor, Karim Khan who is . . . focusing his attention away from the United States.
ACLJ Director of Policy Harry Hutchison discusses the implications the ICC will have investigating the Taliban:
On one hand, the ICC at least in its former iteration claimed that it has jurisdiction to investigate the U.S. despite the fact that the U.S. has an effective judiciary and an effective prosecutorial arm to look at alleged crimes. The U.S. is a nonparty. And now at least the new prosecutor Mr. Khan wishes to institute an investigation of the Taliban. Why? Because there is simply no prospect of an effective investigation going forward within Afghanistan. The problem is how does the ICC get its investigators access to the evidence on which it could then judge or determine whether or not there is a criminal offense?
We have also focused our efforts on the Taliban at the ACLJ. Just this morning, ACLJ Executive Director and my son Jordan Sekulow presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over the abuse of Christians, women, and minorities in Afghanistan being tortured and abused by the Taliban. In an excerpt from Jordan’s speech to the U.N., he said:
The Taliban has a demonstrated history of violence and human rights abuses against Christians and women. . . . The Taliban is not a peaceful government body and should not be treated as such. . . . Therefore, the ECLJ respectfully calls upon the council to take whatever action is necessary to protect Christians, religious minorities and women in Afghanistan, and to stave off any impending human rights abuses and bloodshed now before it is too late.
The ACLJ is present at the UNHRC, the ICC, and other human rights bodies. These are hostile territories, ones that many won’t go to. ACLJ Policy Director Harry Hutchison explains why we report for duty even in a hostile territory:
I think it is very important to commit to principle without the prospect of an immediate victory. A principled commitment to justice, to fairness, to human rights often will prevail in the end. So, the ACLJ in my opinion should continue to go before the ICC, the U.N., and human rights councils even when the odds are stacked against us. I think that is very important. . . . In the short run, even if we do not prevail, it gives hope to the hopeless. Courage to those who cower and provide critical momentum for the future. That is why we stay in the fight and continue to offer principled counsel going forward.
We have lawyers dispatched around the world to continue these fights moving forward. It’s crucial to take on these battles even in hostile territories, because it is clear that if we keep persevering, we can win in the long run.
Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of the International Criminal Court shifting their investigation from the United States to the Taliban.
Watch the full broadcast below.