US armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan, the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor has said in a report, raising the possibility that American citizens could be indicted even though Washington has not joined the global court.
“Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan between 1 May 2003 and 31 December 2014,” according to the report issued by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office on Monday.
The report adds that CIA operatives may have subjected at least 27 detainees in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania to “torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape” between December 2002 and March 2008.
Most of the alleged abuse happened in 2003-04, the report says.
Prosecutors said they would decide “imminently” whether to seek authorisation to open a full-scale investigation in Afghanistan that could lead to war crimes charges.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the US did not believe an ICC investigation was “warranted or appropriate”.
“The United States is deeply committed to complying with the law of war, and we have a robust national system of investigation and accountability that more than meets international standards,” Trudeau said.
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