Reporters without borders (RSF) has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the murder cases of 11 Afghan journalists and media workers killed since 2020.

RSF has asked chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate these murder cases, which could be regarded as war crimes, under article 15 of the ICC’s Rome statute.

The cases listed by the RSF are three women used to work for Enekaas TV, in the eastern Nangarhar province were killed by gunmen on their way to home on March 2, 2020. Before, that, Bismillah Aimaq, the dirctor for Voice of Ghor radio station was killed by gunmen on the way home on January 1, 2020 in Feroz Koh, the capital city for Ghor province.

The others were Mohammad Aliyas Dayee of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Pashto-language service, who was murdered in Lashkargah on 12 November; Malalai Maiwand, a TV presenter and representative of the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), and her driver Taher Khan, who were murdered in Jalalabad on 10 December; and Rahmatollah Nekzad, a reporter for international media, who was gunned down in Ghazni on 21 December.

According to the report, RSF has asked the ICC’s chief prosecutor to include these murders in the crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003 that she was authorised to investigate by the ICC’s Appeals Chamber in March 2020. With a view to prosecuting those responsible, RSF has asked her to determine whether they should be treated as war crimes or as another category of crimes defined by the ICC’s Rome Statute, such as crimes against humanity.

Journalists have been paying a high price in Afghanistan ever since the United States and its allies invaded and toppled the Taliban government in 2001. At least 100 journalists, including 15 international journalists, have been killed in connection with their work in the past 20 years, while more than 60 media outlets have been destroyed or attacked and hundreds of threats have been made against journalists and media.

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