• Rome Statute:
  • Not a Signatory to the Rome Statute
  • Phase: Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment



phase: Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment


The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Afghanistan focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflict which involves international military forces (International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, U.S. forces), Afghan government forces, and armed anti-government groups such as the Taliban. After Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, the U.S. launched the “War on Terror.” The U.S. demanded that the Taliban government of Afghanistan surrender Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and stop Al-Qaeda terrorist operations in Afghanistan. In October 2001, a U.S.-led coalition of forces invaded Afghanistan and attacked the Taliban government and Al-Qaeda terrorists. In December 2001, the Taliban government was ousted, and the UN assisted with the formation of the Afghan Interim Administration. In the course of the conflict, from 2001 to 2015, civilians were killed and injured by international forces, Afghan government forces, and Taliban and other armed anti-government groups. 

ICC Status

Afghanistan is a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on February 10, 2003. After receiving communications since June 2006 of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Afghanistan, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made public its preliminary examination in 2007.  After opening a preliminary examination, to make a determination to open a formal investigation, the OTP assesses the following factors: jurisdiction (temporal, territorial or personal, and subject matter); admissibility (complementarity and gravity); and the interests of justice. 

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Afghanistan is in the admissibility assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP “is concluding its assessment of factors set out in article 53(1)(a)-(c) and will make a final decision on whether to request the Pre-Trial Chamber authorization to commence an investigation . . . imminently.”

For more information on the preliminary examination in Afghanistan, please visit the ICC page.