Court received 1.17 million war crimes claims from Afghans

  • Abdul Wadood Pedram of the Kabul-based Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization gives an interview on Feb. 8 in Kabul, Afghnistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Since the International Criminal Court began collecting material three months ago for a possible war crimes case involving Afghanistan, it has gotten a staggering 1.17 million statements from Afghans who say they were victims.

The statements include accounts of alleged atrocities not only by groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State, but also involving Afghan Security Forces and government-affiliated warlords, the U.S.-led coalition, and foreign and domestic spy agencies, said Abdul Wadood Pedram of the Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization.

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Based in part on the many statements, ICC judges in The Hague would then have to decide whether to seek a war crimes investigation. It’s uncertain when that decision will be made.

The statements were collected between Nov. 20, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2018, by organizations based in Europe and Afghanistan and sent to the ICC, Pedram said. Because one statement might include multiple victims and one organization might represent thousands of victim statements, the number of Afghans seeking justice from the ICC could be several million.

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“It is shocking there are so many,” Pedram said, noting that in some instances, whole villages were represented. “It shows how the justice system in Afghanistan is not bringing justice for the victims and their families.”

“I have the names of the organizations, but because of the security issues, we don’t want to name them because they will be targeted,” said Pedram.

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