[JURIST] The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] said Wednesday that he would begin investigating claims of war crimes by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website] soldiers in Afghanistan. In a briefing, Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said that in addition to investigations of possible NATO crimes, the ICC would also begin looking into possible atrocities committed by the Taliban [BBC report]. Moreno-Ocampo also stated that the ICC would not get involved [Reuters report] unless the government of Afghanistan or the UN specifically request. Despite that condition, Moreno-Ocampo did suggest that the ICC would open four new investigations [AP report] in the next three years.
With the ICC beginning discussions of examining war crimes in Afghanistan, the possibility that US citizens would be subject to criminal sanctions by the ICC has become an issue. Any possible exposure of US soldiers to the ICC's jurisdiction, however, would depend on whether the US ratifies the Rome Statute [text], from which the ICC draws its authority. In mid-August, the Heritage Foundation urged the Obama administration not to re-sign the treaty [JURIST report]. Currently, the US is a signatory to the treaty, but has not ratified the document. As a result, the US is not bound to the agreement, a situation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented [Reuters report] recently.