An ICC Investigation Into War Crimes Is Key to Securing Peace in Afghanistan

There have already been many military maneuvers, political pivots and plot twists since the U.S. inked a peace deal with the Taliban late last month. But the one development that could finally bring a measure of clarity to Afghanistan in the long term is the International Criminal Court’s decision on March 5 to approve opening a full investigation into allegations that U.S., Taliban and Afghan government forces committed systematic abuses during the nearly 20-year-long war.

For Afghanistan, the ruling issued by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber reversed the court’s earlier, mystifying decision last April to deny the request of the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an inquiry into alleged war crimes. For the court itself, the decision is possibly the strongest step it could take to restore its fragile international credibility. After years of laboring under a cloud of accusations of bureaucratic ineptitude and political bias, the ICC, in theory at least, now has all the running room needed to take on the world’s biggest superpower.