Vastavam web: US-backed forces in Syria Monday called for the establishment of an international court in the country to try suspected Islamic State group jihadists. The announcement came two days after the jihadist group’s “caliphate” was declared defeated. “We call on the international community to establish a special international tribunal in northeast Syria to prosecute terrorists,” the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement.
In this way, “trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters”, it said. Syria’s Kurds have previously warned that despite the demise of the IS proto-state, the thousands of foreign jihadists they have detained are a time-bomb the world urgently needs to defuse.
According to the SDF, more than 5,000 jihadists — Syrian and foreign — have been captured since January. The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria has warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people. But the home countries of suspected IS members are reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and the likely public backlash.
“The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria has appealed to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards members of the terrorist organisation detained by Kurdish security forces,” read Monday’s statement. “But unfortunately there was no response,” it said.
It called on the international community, particularly countries that have nationals detained, to support the establishment of an international tribunal, calling for legal and logistical cooperation and coordination. In the past, two international tribunals were created by the international community: the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which tried genocide perpetrators in the African country, and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which tried those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in wars that tore apart the Balkans in the 1990s.