Justice Update – Afghanistan Accountability

Janet and Stephanie with Sarah Kay (top left) and Julie Fraser (bottom right)

Afghanistan has been on top of the news agenda. There are many stories to be told. But we thought we’d ask both what’s been happening to the people who work on the ground in human rights, and what the prospects are for accountability for war crimes in the future.

We got Sarah Kay, human rights lawyer, working in national security, to tell us what it’s been like with other members of the ATLAS women‘s lawyers network to work on evacuations and exfiltrations. It’s extraordinary to hear how hard people have been working to help lawyers, judges, human rights defenders – especially women – anyone who may be targeted by Taliban.

In Geneva the Human Rights Council had a special session where the UN Human Rights Commissioner called on it “to take bold and deliberate action” to defend human rights and set up ways to monitor violations like war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile the International Criminal Court does have an ongoing atrocity crimes investigation, which we’ve covered here and here, so we consider what their role now is. Plus in Australia there’s an investigation into alleged war crimes by Australian troops. Fiona Nelson senior legal advisor at the Australian Centre for International Justice catches us up on what’s going on. She refers to this new handbook published by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre on remote investigations – which may become very relevant if the Taliban blocks access.

And Julie Fraser Assistant Professor in Utrecht talks us through why that Australian investigation is so important and why the ICC may want to engage more with Islamic law. Check out her edited book on culture at the ICC.