Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said there were preliminary grounds to believe US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.
In a report covered by Iran’s Ettela’at newspaper, The Hague prosecutors said there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that US forces had tortured prisoners in Afghanistan and at Central Intelligence Agency detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.
“Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture,” the prosecutors’ office, wrote. It added that CIA officials appeared to have tortured another 27 detainees.
The prosecutors’ office said it would decide imminently whether to pursue a full investigation.
The results of a full investigation could potentially lead to charges being brought against individuals and the issuing of an arrest warrant. The ICC is a court of last resort, however, meaning it could only bring charges if domestic authorities were not dealing adequately with allegations.
Monday’s finding marks a significant step forward in the court’s decade-old examination of conflicts in Afghanistan and could draw a sharp response from a U.S. administration that is set to become less internationalist under President-elect Donald Trump.
“These alleged crimes were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” the report said. “They appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence.'”