ICC Must Open War Crimes Probe Amid Declining Health Of Torture Victim At Gitmo - Attorney

ICC Must Open War Crimes Probe Amid Declining Health of Torture Victim at Gitmo - Attorney

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th December, 2018) International Criminal Court (ICC) justices must immediately launch a probe into possible war crimes related to the conflict in Afghanistan in light of the declining health of a Guantanamo Bay detainee tortured by US personnel, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Senior Staff Attorney and Victim Representative Katherine Gallagher said in a letter on Thursday.

"Mr. Al Hajj suffers from the physical and psychological effects of his torture and his growing despair over his ill health and indefinite detention - itself a form of torture," Gallagher said in a letter addressed to an ICC judge. "In light of Mr. Al Hajj's deteriorating physical and mental health and the US' refusal to act, I respectfully urge the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation into the Situation in Afghanistan and related crimes without delay."

Since 2004, Gallagher said, Hajj has been held at Guantanamo without charge after being transported from Afghanistan and tortured at a CIA black site.

Hajj cited a 2005 court ruling in which a US Federal judge found that Hajj had been subjected to patent physical and psychological coercion in Jordan and Afghanistan.

CCR said in a press release that the ICC investigation could lead to prosecution of members of the US armed forces and the CIA, along with Taliban and Afghan forces, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2016, the ICC in a report found reasonable grounds to believe that the United States had been complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in secret detention facilities in Afghanistan in 2003-2004. In 2017, the UN-sponsored court said it would conduct a more detailed investigation into the allegations.

In September, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton in a speech at the Federalist Society said the Trump administration would ban, sanction and prosecute any ICC officials involved with investigating potential human rights abuses committed by US personnel in Afghanistan.

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