International Criminal Court prosecutors said Monday there was reason to believe members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as the CIA may have tortured detainees in Afghanistan and could therefore be guilty of war crimes, reported the Associated Press. Earlier this year the CIA was accused of taking what one former U.S. official described as “very gruesome” photographs of naked detainees. This year the CIA also accidentally destroyed a Senate report on torture.
In a report, the ICC said Armed Forces members "appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture" in Afghanistan, primarily in 2003 to 2004. The same report said CIA operatives may have tortured at least 27 detainees in Afghanistan and elsewhere, mainly during the same time period.
The report said the crimes "were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals. Rather, they appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract 'actionable intelligence' from detainees." It continued, "The information available suggests that victims were deliberately subjected to physical and psychological violence, and that crimes were allegedly committed with particular cruelty and in a manner that debased the basic human dignity of the victims."
The ICC prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even though the U.S. is not a member, Americans could still be prosecuted elsewhere if they committed the alleged crimes within a place that is a member of the ICC, like Afghanistan. The AP reported the ICC has to see if the alleged crimes are already being investigated or prosecuted in the country they took place. If not, that’s when the ICC can step in.