Afghanistan probe appeal begins at international court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Prosecutors are appealing to judges at the International Criminal Court to authorize a wide-ranging investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In a ruling condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

A three-day hearing appealing the April rejection started Wednesday.