The International Criminal Court (ICC) is on the verge of opening an investigation into allegations that the United States committed war crimes while interrogating detainees in Afghanistan.
There “is a reasonable basis to believe that” U.S. military and CIA forces in Afghanistan “resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape” in the course of the 13-year war there, the office of prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a report issued late Monday.
Prosecutors will examine the evidence and determine whether to launch an investigation “imminently,” it added.
If the ICC proceeds to an investigation into the alleged abuses, it would be a resounding international rebuke to the George W. Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies. The use of “black sites” and so-called enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding remain one of the most controversial aspects of the former president’s time in office. A years-long investigation by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee resulted in a hotly debated 6,700-page report, the vast majority of which remains classified.