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Where should we prosecute #foreignfighters? Some countries, like #Belgium, propose to have them prosecuted locally, or by an "international tribunal". This may not be the best option. Here is why. THREAD (based on an article I wrote in French, link below)
1)Foreign fighters have indeed committed crimes in the region, and could legitimately be prosecuted locally.HOWEVER, that applies only for Iraq (and crimes committed in Iraq). Many fighters are currently detained in #Syria. Not clear whether there is evidence against them in Iraq
2)Moreover, Iraqi trials have been deemed expedite and not up to international standards. Same for detention regimes. This is a moral and legal issue for #European governments. Bad detention conditions further increase risk of new "Guantanamos" or "Abu Ghraib"
3)Think of Usama Atar, mastermind of #Parisattacks and #Brusselsattacks. He further "radicalized" and networked with future #ISIS leaders while in detention in "Abu Ghraib" and "Camp Bucca" in #Iraq in the 2000s...
4)Conditions in (some) Kurdish camps are a bit better, but may degrade quickly with more jihadis showing up/detained. In Kurdistan, there is no legality for detention (least prosecution) of #foreignfighters, so not sure on which ground gov can plead for prolonged detention there
5)Let's clarify here that with the maintain of minimal US contingent in #Syria, some governments now argue there is less pressure to act swiftly on repatriation of #jihadi fighters, in spite of #US and #SDF demands. Overall, "no repatriation" is the favorite option of most gov.
6)To address some limits of local jurisdictions mentioned above, #Belgium and others propose to create an "international tribunal" that could prosecute local crimes of #foreignfighters #FTF. Specificities are unclear. Kurds are in favor, talking of a new "Nuremberg".
7)Several points here. First, those in favor say it is necessary to prosecute successfully #European jihadi fighters. This may be true for countries like #UK or #Sweden who have difficulties convicting #returnees. Not true for #Belgium #France and others
8)Second, difficulty of prosecution is linked to difficulty of gathering evidence locally. This is true. But I don't see how/why an international tribunal would change that. Plus, there are now very intense efforts to gather these evidence anyway, led by #USA
9)Third, more fundamentally, "justice of exception" for specific citizens/group is never a good approach. why in this case and not others? why #ISIS crimes and not those of all other parties? This is a difficult position to defend/sustain internationally
10)Fourth, "international tribunals" can take many different forms. Yet, in general, they take a lot of time to set up, are very expensive, with very limited (and uncertain) results. Likely to focus on "big fishes" and ignore the mere "cooks" "nurses" etc.
11)Fifth, most people are not aware, but this idea was actually discussed more than a year ago at the #EU level, and rejected. Bit surprising to see it reemerging now. Except to reemphasize the "no repatriation" policy by other means.
12)Indeed, most #EU countries (but not all) are well equipped to deal with #returnees in terms of prosecution and detention. No need for an international tribunal. #Belgium can prosecute #returnees, incl. for crimes committed there based on "universal competence" of our Courts
13)Of course, everyone recognize that there is no easy solution to the problem of #foreignfighters in #Syria and #Iraq. Their return does create a security risk, and it is politically highly sensitive. But leaving them there also create security risks, as discussed above
14)Thus my argument would be that instead of trusting others for the security and justice of "our" #jihadis, we'd be better doing that ourselves, in a tightly controlled manner, trusting our own institutions.
15)And if there is money for creating something new and possibly ineffective, why not using that money to strengthen our Courts, security services and penitentiary administration? They could make good use of it...
Here is the link to my article in French, for the Belgian weekly @LeVif levif.be/actualite/inte…
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