International ISIS Repatriation: Europe In Negotiation To Contract Their Nationals' Trials To Iraq

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Arkain2K, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Months after the fall of ISIS, Europe has done little to take back its fighters
    By Michael Birnbaum | June 20, 2019​

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    BRUSSELS — European leaders have hammered the United States for nearly two decades about the injustice of Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners are held indefinitely at a detention camp outside the normal U.S. justice system.

    But faced with what to do about European nationals who went to fight for the Islamic State and ended up in Syrian detention camps, the continent’s leaders are proving reluctant to bring their citizens to trial at home.

    Three months after the collapse of the Islamic State, about 2,000 foreign fighters are imprisoned in Syria and Iraq, and about 800 of them are believed to be European, according to U.S. officials. Those figures don’t include the thousands of wives and children with foreign citizenship.

    European leaders have made little movement to repatriate their citizens, even as U.S. and Kurdish authorities beg them to take back their people. Some security officials warn that inaction could enable future attacks, and human rights advocates deplore the conditions in overcapacity camps.

    “It’s obvious that there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the camps in northeast Syria and the prisons in Iraq that are holding thousands of foreigners,” said Letta Tayler, a global terrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Western Europe’s response has been to look the other way. It just goes against everything that Western Europe says it stands for.”

    European leaders have taken a hard look at what their domestic populations want — and blinked. Popular opinion is overwhelmingly against bringing back the European fighters. The anger sharpened after terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016, in which some of the perpetrators had visited the caliphate.

    “Ordinary Belgians want them to be taken care of over there,” said Koen Metsu, a Belgian lawmaker who has worked on security issues. The Europeans who joined the Islamic State “knew up front what they were about to do,” he said.

    Even bringing back the children of the fighters is unpopular. France and the Netherlands have taken back orphans in recent days, because those children are free from the leaden political baggage of having parents who might also want to return alongside them. Belgium last week announced plans to do the same. Britain, meanwhile, has sought to strip suspected Islamic State sympathizers of their citizenship.

    Some fighters and sympathizers have been convicted in absentia — unable to appear at their European trials because they were in Syria. But authorities have little appetite to bring people home to serve their sentences.

    European countries have also begun to outsource prosecutions to Iraqi courts. Justice is swift, the burden of proof light, access to lawyers minimal and the punishment consistent: death by hanging, according to human rights groups who have witnessed the proceedings. In recent weeks, 11 French citizens, among others, have been sentenced to death. France, which opposes the death penalty, signaled it will not stand in the way of the trials, saying it respects Iraqi sovereignty.

    Advocates of shifting prosecutions to Iraqi courts, including Metsu, acknowledge that some fighters may have fought in Syria only, not Iraq, raising questions whether Iraqis truly have jurisdiction. But they say justice is better served close to where crimes were committed and where witnesses and evidence are nearby.

    The question of whether to reclaim fighters and their families is less pressing for the United States, because only a few dozen U.S. citizens are known to have traveled to join the Islamic State, according to counterterrorism analysts. But America has started to bring its people home. This month, six children and two women were flown back from the al-Hol camp to be resettled in the United States, according to Syrian Kurdish authorities. Three men and a woman are awaiting U.S. trial. Three others agreed to plea deals. And one Virginia man is appealing a sentence of 20 years for providing material support to a designated terrorist organization.

    U.S. officials, having made greater progress than their European counterparts, have sought to claim the moral high ground and to impress that the current situation is not sustainable.

    “It is not a solution to leave these people in camps in northeast Syria. This is a burden on the people of northeast Syria,” James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, told reporters last week. “It is absolutely imperative that countries take action as necessary to deal with their own citizens.”

    The challenge bloomed as a U.S.-led coalition took over the final pockets of Islamic State territory in Syria and Iraq. That sent a wave of refugees and ex-fighters into the already fragile camps in Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria. Many of the men are in improvised prisons. Women and children are not under the same tight control, but those suspected of Islamic State sympathies are not allowed to move freely.

    At al-Hol, more than 73,000 people are packed into facilities built to house about half that. The camp population includes 3,200 foreign women and 7,900 foreign children, alongside more than 60,000 Syrians and Iraqis, according to Kurdish authorities. There are just three mobile clinics at the camp, and shortages of medicine are acute.

    The Kurdish forces who operate the jammed camps have few resources. Some of them complain they are being forced to lavish more money on their defeated enemies than on their own war-frayed population.

    Meanwhile, President Trump has said he wants to withdraw U.S. forces from the region. A pullout could threaten the viability of the camps, because the U.S. military has been a crucial source of support for the Kurds.

    Trump tweeted his frustration at the end of April: “European countries are not helping at all, even though this was very much done for their benefit. They are refusing to take back prisoners from their specific countries. Not good!”

    The inaction by European politicians also comes over the objections of some of their own security officials. Many who work to keep Europeans safe — but who don’t have to win their votes — would prefer to keep terrorism suspects and convicts close by, where they can be watched, instead of running the risk they could vanish abroad and plot future violence.

    “There is a disconnect between the political world that is very concerned about the political risks that are associated with the repatriation of terrorists, and the various services that are dealing with counterterrorism daily,” said Thomas Renard, a terrorism expert at the Brussels-based Egmont Institute. “Having these individuals here, prosecuting them here, is not only feasible but also probably less problematic.”

    “Purely from a security point of view, we should not make the mistakes of the past. We should not create a new Guantanamo Bay,” said one senior European security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive assessments that do not line up with those of national leaders.

    Many of Europe’s objections to Guantanamo, the U.S. detention facility in Cuba, had to do with torture. But other factors that led the United States to detain people there — a lack of confidence in civilian courts to handle terrorism trials and a fear of the political backlash of bringing terror detainees onto U.S. soil — echo in the European decisions, the official said.

    European sentences for terrorism-related charges tend to be lighter than in the United States — the lightest offenses are punishable with two- to five-year sentences. Prisons can be hotbeds of radicalization. And European politicians warn that mustering the battlefield evidence necessary for convictions on serious charges can be difficult. Some countries, such as Sweden, never criminalized travel to Syria, making it difficult for law enforcement to charge people for basic association with the Islamic State.

    “It’s political suicide to try to bring them back, because the public doesn’t want them back,” said Magnus Ranstorp, a counterterrorism expert at the Swedish Defense University. “They’ve committed atrocities, but you cannot convict them. And if you can convict them, it won’t be for that long unless you can prove murder. It’s a ripe mess.”

    Swedish leaders are advocating a different approach.

    “We said we will not repatriate terrorists to Sweden,” said Swedish Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg in an interview. Damberg has pushed for an international tribunal near Syria to prosecute Islamic State crimes. He said that would provide a way to process the detainees without bringing them to Europe.

    “Not doing anything in the region, close to evidence and witnesses, is also complicated, and risks not actually prosecuting and condemning them,” he said.

    Skeptics of the effort, including the U.S. government, say setting up a tribunal could take years, by which time evidence would be lost and memories faded. They also say it would force an even bigger burden on Iraq, which is already struggling to rebuild after Islamic State occupation. The Iraqi government is in talks to take back about 30,000 of its own citizens who traveled to Syria to live under Islamic State rule.

    Some families of terrorism victims say they would prefer that justice be served closer to home.

    “We want those trials to happen in France,” said Georges Salines, whose daughter, Lola, died in the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. “We really want for those people to be heard by judges. We want to know how they got radicalized.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...9-b6f4-033356502dce_story.html?outputType=amp
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
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  2. WTF2008

    WTF2008 Black Belt

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    Gotta leave a like just for "woke level 12" lol. I actually did lol, didn't just phone tap it.
     
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  3. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  4. ryan3434

    ryan3434 Purple Belt

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    You think the family didn't have a say in these guys leaving to fight for the is is? They are likely more upset he didn't die a marters death.
     
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  5. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Australian Government silent on Australian prisoners in Syria
    By Tessa Fox | OCTOBER 7, 2019​

    https://amp.news.com.au/world/break...a/news-story/8839f339cab9bae7cc463643f7b5fe5a
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  6. Stoic1

    Stoic1 Patriot

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    Suddenly very relevant, eh?
     
  7. Paradigm

    Paradigm Gold Belt

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    <TheDonald>
     
  8. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    They Left to Join ISIS. Now Europe Is Leaving Their Citizens to Die in Iraq.
    By Pilar Cebrián | September 15, 2019

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    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/1...ope-is-leaving-their-citizens-to-die-in-iraq/
     
  9. sweede

    sweede Purple Belt

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    And no one shed any tears.


     
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  10. Teehee

    Teehee Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    This is the retardation of not having a death penalty

    Instead of wasting time and money just shoot them in the head

    No need for retardation anymore
     
  11. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    It has always been relevant, even though Europe pretends it doesn't exists.
     
  12. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    As ISIS Fighters Fill Prisons in Syria, Their Home Nations Look Away
    By Charlie Savage | July 18, 2018

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    Syrian Democratic Forces have converted this former school in Ainissa, Syria, into a makeshift prison for holding suspected Islamic State fighters. American funds helped pay for the towering concrete perimeter walls installed last month.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/...tion=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  13. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    U.S. military takes custody of British ISIS terrorists known as the 'Beatles'
    By Kayla Brantley | 9 October 2019

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    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...h-ISIS-terrorists-known-Beatles.html#comments
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  14. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Turkey's Syria advance leaves Europe with foreign fighter dilemma
    John Irish and Joseph Nasr

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    Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters are seen in action in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, Syria, October 13, 2019

    PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - European states are trying to fast-track a plan to shift thousands of foreign Islamic State militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the outbreak of fresh conflict in Syria raised the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home.

    Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Islamic State fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias, which are under heavy attack by Turkish forces. If the militias redeploy prison guards to the front line, there is a risk of jail-breaks.

    Before Turkey began its offensive last week, European nations had been assessing how to create a mechanism that could ultimately see foreign fighters moved from Syria to face trial in Iraq for war crimes.

    Europe does not want to try its Islamic State nationals at home, fearing a public backlash, difficulties in collating evidence against them, and risks of renewed attacks from militants on European soil.

    Iraq saw some of the bloodiest battles against Islamic State and its government is already conducting trials of thousands of suspected Islamic State insurgents with many arrested as the group's strongholds crumbled throughout Iraq.

    Eleven legal experts from EU countries first met in June to assess their options and made slow progress, partly due to European concerns over the fairness of Iraqi justice. But the Turkish attack in northern Syria has since spurred European powers to fast-track it, diplomatic and government sources say.

    "There is a sense that the Iraqis want their Nuremburg moment and that Iraqi families want to see Islamic State pay so we have to find a way that satisfies everyone so that they are judged without the death penalty being implemented even if that is the sentence," said a European diplomat.

    A core group of six nations, who have the bulk of fighters held in Kurdish prisons, including France, Britain and Germany, have now pressed ahead with narrowing options after ruling out a fully international "ad hoc" tribunal. Such a body could take years to establish and was unlikely to get U.N. Security Council backing.

    They last met on Oct. 11 in Copenhagen focusing on a hybrid structure involving international and Iraqi judges. Those discussions are in parallel with the Baghdad government.

    "It's not simple. We don't want to face litigation from jihadist families back in European courts," said another European diplomat. "The situation is sufficiently complex that we didn't need to add a degree of urgency when there wasn't one. That has changed with Turkey's actions."

    Negotiations with Iraq, which is also seeking millions of dollars in financial compensation for taking European fighters, are not straightforward.

    'DIFFICULT QUESTIONS'

    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in June that his government was exploring the idea of prosecuting foreign Islamic State fighters currently held in Syria, but had at that time not received serious offers.

    Three European diplomats said talks with Iraq were ongoing, and that there would be a push to accelerate those efforts in light of Turkey's offensive, but that they were still some way off coming to an agreement with Baghdad.

    "The Iraqis want money to pay for it, written agreements with every country and promises of no criticism of the proceedings," Belkis Wille, senior researcher for Iraq at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

    "This (Turkish offensive) is speeding everything up and makes it more likely," she said.

    With no recognized legal system in the Kurdish Syrian areas, Western countries have as a result not opposed the principle of transferring some jihadists from the region to Iraq to face justice.

    About a dozen French jihadists were moved in January and subsequently sentenced to death. Officials say no foreigners appear to have been moved between the two countries since. The Europeans had been waiting to see whether those death sentences would be implemented.

    "We don't want them back and public opinion won't support it," said a French diplomatic source. "Beyond the most vulnerable children on a case-by-case basis, the option of repatriating the adults is clearly not what we want. That hasn't changed because of the Turks."

    Those comments were echoed by Belgian, Dutch and German officials. "There are difficult questions to be answered about adult Islamic State fighters with German citizenship," said a German foreign ministry source.

    'COLONIAL HYPOCRISY'

    Other than the detention centers for fighters, thousands more women and children are in camps guarded by Kurdish forces in areas not specifically targeted by Turkey. The Kurdish forces have said that protecting those prisons and camps is also no longer their priority.

    The Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said on Friday that five fighters fled a prison in the northeastern town of Qamishli after Turkish shelling. On Sunday, they said 785 foreigners affiliated with Islamic State, mostly women and children, managed to escape a camp at Ain Issa. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

    There are several detention centers in areas Turkey is set on capturing, which Ankara estimates about 1,000 foreign jihadists are held in. Turkish officials have said suggested they could eventually return all foreign nationals back to their home country.

    "We took back our bad guys. There is a certain colonial hypocrisy from the Europeans on this subject," a senior Turkish diplomat said. "They want fighters to be tried in the region under their conditions."

    European officials say their immediate priority is to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump, whose decision to withdraw U.S troops from northern Syria effectively enabled Turkey to make its advance, to reverse his policies and to persuade Ankara to cease its operations.

    They argue that the offensive is weakening the coalition fighting Islamic State, which will embolden remaining Islamic State cells and pave the way for the group's revival.

    Underscoring those concerns the U.S. military has taken custody of two high-profile foreign Islamic State militants previously held by the Kurds and moved them out of the country, U.S. officials have said.

    Jean-Charles Brisard, President of the Terrorism Analysis Center in Paris, said European powers were left waiting to see how the situation evolved, but that their policy of keeping their nationals in either Syria or Iraq to face trial had become "untenable".

    "All the European countries took a decision because of their public opinions not to repatriate their jihadists, but it was clear the Kurds wouldn't keep them indefinitely," France's former ambassador to Washington Gerard Araud said.

    "Sooner or late the jihadist question was bound to come up and obviously the only solution is to bring them back to be able to control them," he said.

    https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1WS0IF
     
  15. Plodder

    Plodder Yellow Belt

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    Killing them would solve the problem
     
  16. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Nope. That would go against the civilized European ideals.

    Didn't you read the article directly above your own post?
     
  17. TripleAz

    TripleAz White Belt

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    So they fear Europeans errrrr Isis supporters will be upset? Lmfao UKucks
     
  18. MicroBrew

    MicroBrew Steel Belt

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    Charge them with war-crimes. Throw them in prison for life.
     
  19. Arkain2K

    Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    That's what we have been trying to get Europe to do for the last three years, and what Europe is trying to outsource to Iraq now.

    European countries have resigned to the fact that their progressive European laws wouldn't be able to do anything to these European jihadists though (the British posters in this thread are of the opinion that not only they gonna go free, but they might score a nice payday from the British government instead for their pain suffering in the Middle East). So no matter what anyone says, Europe had been effectively pretending that these guys don't exists and flatly refuses to do anything about it, while American tax-payers continue shelling out millions to house and feed them in Syrian Kurds' jails, which was built with American funding in the first place.

    It's rather amusing that the same virtuous countries that berates Guantanamo Bay are the very same countries who secretly wishing and hoping that the U.S will take their ISIS fighters there. Now that it's clear that neither we nor the Kurds are going to take care of these European jihadists forever, and there's a real chance that they might escape and go back to Europe when Turkey moves in, these countries are finally getting off their asses and enter into real negotiation with the Iraqis to prosecute them there instead.

    The only two things they're haggling over now are the millions of euros in court fees for this subcontracted justice system, plus convincing the Iraqi government to forego the death penalty. I'm not sure the Iraqis would be keen to be housing and feeding these European jihadists for life though, so we'll see what's the price tag they'll demand for that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019

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