17th episode of the utopia3 podcast with Alice Speri.
Interview in English.
Joining us to discuss her reporting the International Criminal Court’s recent decision on Afghanistan, as well as the ICC’s history, and the background of the the U.S.’s relationship with the court is journalist Alice Speri, whose work for the independent American news organization The Intercept has focused, in addition to the ICC, on civil and constitutional rights abuses by the U.S. government, and the how those abuses impact the United States’ role as proclaimed advocate and defender of international human rights.
In Sept of this year, the ICC's prosecutor Karim Khan announced that the court would re-open its investigation into crimes committed in Afghanistan during the U.S. military occupation. The ICC is the sole international body with the mandate to adjudicate war crimes and crimes against humanity, which were unfortunately all too common in Afghanistan under the U.S.-backed regime. Kahn’s announcement, while welcome to many who are seeking justice for crimes committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorason province (IS-K), comes with a glaring qualification: neither the United States occupying force, nor its allies, including the recently deposed Afghan government will be investigated for offenses that are clearly within the ICC’s jurisdiction. Khan’s statement seems to justify what he calls the “deprioritization” of investigating crimes against humanity by the U.S. and its allies on the grounds that the “gravity, scale, and continuing nature of the crimes by the Taliban and IS-K demand the full resources of [his] office.” Interestingly, Kahn defends his focus on IS-K by by citing the group’s designation as a terrorist organization, despite the fact that nowhere in the Rome Statute - the International Criminal Courts founding document - is the court given the authority to prosecute the crime of “terrorism.” Kahn’s narrow focus on terrorism and the crimes of the Taliban gives credence to those who accuse the court of subserivance to the political agendas of more powerful nations like the United States and its allies. The United States in particular has never recognized the jurisdiction of the ICC, despite having encouraged the court’s investigation of crimes against humanity and war crimes that do not involve US, comporting itself as too big to prosecute in an international forum.
Interviewer : Jonathan Matthew Schmitt
Editing : Martial Mingam
Photo : The Intercept