The International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request for an investigation in Afghanistan on November 20, 2017, could begin a long overdue path to justice for victims of grave international crimes. A three-member panel of ICC judges will now decide whether it can step in as a court of last resort to address the worst abuses committed in Afghanistan.

The ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan has resulted in numerous violations of the laws of war by the belligerents. Targeted attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other insurgents have caused thousands of civilian casualties.

The Afghan government has not prosecuted torture, rape, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings by Afghan police and security forces. Foreign forces, notably the United States military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have also committed serious abuses in Afghanistan.