German official backs Syrian Kurdish call for international ISIS court

German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, on Thursday expressed his support for a call by the Syrian Kurds to set up an international court to put Islamic State fighters on trial.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, on Thursday expressed his support for a call by the Syrian Kurds to set up an international court to put Islamic State fighters on trial.

The German Minister said it would be a “good move” to set up an international court that would try foreign jihadists rather than have Germany and other nations repatriate fighters and their families back to their home countries, especially since “terrorism is an international issue,” according to Die Zeit.

“That’s always better, for me, than bringing all ISIS fighters of German nationality [back] to Germany,” before trial, he noted.

“If several states have a prosecution claim, the trials should be conducted there. Trials should be conducted where ISIS fighters are now in detention, for example in Iraq,” the official said.

However, he explained, that Germany is opposed to the death penalty and that Islamic State prisoners should not face execution since the European nation is against the use of capital punishment inside and outside of Germany.

Ibrahim Murad, the representative of the self-administration of the North and East of Syria in Germany, welcomed the statement.

Yet he argued that now, Germany should work on promoting the idea at a European level.

The Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) for northeast Syria has previously called on countries to repatriate their citizens and said it was ready to facilitate the transport of women and children back to their home countries.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently holds thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families as the self-proclaimed caliphate has fallen.

So far, many European countries, including Germany, have shown reluctance in bringing back nationals who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist organization. Belgium is among the countries to have also expressed support for an international court.

The local administration has urged for international tribunals since the defeat of the Islamic State in Baghouz on March 23.

“We call on the international community to establish a special international tribunal in northeastern Syria to prosecute terrorists,” the administration said in late March.

However, the US administration does not support the idea, stating that nations around the world need to take back their citizens.

“Right now, the focus is on getting countries to take back their own foreign terrorist fighters,” Special US Envoy for Syria, Amb. James Jeffrey, argued in March.
“The second priority is to pressure countries to take back their own citizens who may or may not have committed crimes under their systems. We think that’s vital, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Editing by Nadia Riva