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International Court to Probe Possible Afghanistan War Crimes

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court says he is collecting information about possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan by both Taliban and NATO forces.

Speaking at the United Nations Wednesday, Luis Moreno Ocampo said the preliminary inquiry is very complex because it is difficult to gather information in the country.

Ocampo said non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan and the Afghan government are helping him collect evidence.

The probe comes after NATO forces acknowledged that a deadly air strike on two fuel tankers last week killed civilians as well as militants.

Ocampo said under some circumstances, the inadvertent killing of civilians in a military action, so-called collateral damage, can be considered a war crime.  But Ocampo declined to provide details of the investigation and said there is no guarantee charges will arise from the inquiry.

Ocampo said his office also is investigating possible war crimes in Gaza, Georgia, Colombia and Kenya.

The Netherlands-based ICC is the world's only permanent tribunal for judging suspects of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. 

Every country can try its own citizens for the alleged crimes, and the ICC can only step in if the country is unable or unwilling to prosecute the case.

Afghanistan is one of 110 countries that ratified the treaty establishing the ICC.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters. 

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