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13/11/2017

ICC: Prosecutor requests authorization to commence an investigation in Aghanistan and obtains authotization to proceed in Burundi

On 3rd November 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked the ICC to authorize an investigation into potential war crimes in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The request asks for an authorization to investigate those responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 1st May 2003 on the territory of Afghanistan as well as war crimes closely linked to the situation in Afghanistan allegedly committed since 1st July 2002 on the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute. The Court has no jurisdiction respecting crimes alleged to have been committed before those cut-off dates.

Following the Prosecutor's decision, the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has been assigned to a Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court. Should the Pre-Trial Chamber grant the Prosecutor's request, her Office will investigate, within its mandate and means, in an independent, impartial and objective way, crimes within the Court's jurisdiction allegedly committed by any party to the armed conflict. In accordance with the Office's policy and practice, the ultimate focus will be upon those most responsible for the most serious crimes allegedly committed in connection with the situation in Afghanistan. 

9th November 2017, moreover, the Pre-Trial Chamber authorised the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside Burundi from 26th April 2015 until 26th October 2017. Burundi was a State Party from the moment the Rome Statute entered into effect for Burundi (1 December 2004) until the end of the one-year interval since the notification of Burundi's withdrawal (26 October 2017). Accordingly, the Court retains jurisdiction over any crime within its jurisdiction up to and including 26th October 2017, regardless of Burundi's withdrawal since it was a State Party from the moment the Rome Statute entered into effect for Burundi (1 December 2004).

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