Hadi Marifat, AHRDO Executive Director, Speech at the 17th ASP

Hadi Marifat, AHRDO Executive Director and Member of the Transitional Justice Coordination Group, addresses the 17th Session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Staute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking to you today as a representative of the Transitional Justice Coordination Group of Afghanistan.
Four decades of conflict, characterized by horrific violations of international humanitarian law, have left millions of civilians as victims.
In the last ten years alone, more than 70,000 Afghans have been killed or injured (according to UN figures).
Individuals like Habib Wali, whose story you can read in the exhibition of “Memory Boxes” in this building, who lost his mother and two sisters in a massive truck bomb attack in Kabul, which killed 15 and injured 283.
Habib says nothing was done to investigate the massacre.
One of the reasons why we, the Afghans, have remained trapped in an unbroken cycle of 40-year long conflict, is a profoundly rooted culture of impunity.
In my country, almost all conflict actors operate in total disregard of local and international norms, and they continue to firmly believe that nobody will ever hold them accountable.
When in December and January of this year, the victims were provided with an opportunity to make representations to the court.
They responded with a strong and unified message: calling on the Court to launch its investigation immediately.
But without civil society, their views would not have been heard.
The court did almost no outreach.
So – as soon as authorization is granted, the court must dramatically increase outreach, including a presence in Afghanistan, and work closely with victims’ groups and the media.
To the States parties’ representatives: Afghans expect consistency.
Yesterday, many of you made strong statements in support of justice being essential for a sustainable peace.
We need similar strong statements in favor of the court’s investigation in Afghanistan.
This is particularly true under the shadow of US threats to the court.
In addition, so many Afghans are terrified by recent developments — the Afghan government talking of unconditional peace offers, and the US pushing for a quick deal according to its own timeline.

This sends a clear warning to Afghans that justice may be sacrificed.
Afghans want peace. But, we have the experience of past deals that excluded justice, and led to more violence.
We cannot afford for that to happen again.
Only with victims’ inclusion and participation can we hope to have a sustainable peace.
Millions of Afghans feel betrayed by their government.
We are relying on the ICC and state parties to demonstrate that justice is not just a beautiful word.

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