France FM to visit Iraq to discuss trials for French ISIS fighters in Syria

France FM to visit Iraq to discuss trials for French ISIS fighters in Syria

2019/10/16 | 13:05 - Source: kurdistan 24

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)- ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday that he plans to visit Iraq soon to discuss the possibility of putting French nationals who joined the so-called Islamic State in Syria on trial in Iraq.

“The subject with the Iraqi authorities is to find a judicial system that could try all these fighters, including the French ones,” Le Drian told BFM television.

The French diplomat was referring to the Islamic State fighters held in Kurdish-run camps in northeastern Syria.

Iraqi courts have put on trial hundreds of foreigners, sentencing many to life in prison and others to death. Baghdad had previously handed death sentences to 11 French nationals for their role with the terror group.

“There needs to be an ad hoc judicial system, and that’s what we’ll be talking to the Iraqi authorities about,” Le Drian stated.

He also said nine French women accused of membership to the Islamic State had escaped from the Ain Issa camp in northeastern Syria, which was the target of Turkish artillery on Sunday amid an ongoing offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces.

“The French women who went to this region in 2015 knew what they were doing.

They aren’t tourists.

They are fighters against France and must face trial [in Iraq] if possible,” the French foreign minister concluded.

Human rights groups have criticized inconsistencies in the judicial process in Iraq and the prominence of flawed trials. 

After some French nationals claimed in court that Iraqi officials had tortured them, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on nations not to rely on Iraq, a country notorious for using torture to extract confessions to try their citizens. 

Read More: HRW: French ISIS suspects allege Iraqi torture; nations should ensure fair trials

Many nations in the European Union fear that due to the lack of evidence, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.

As such, the notion of an international criminal court to try them either in Iraq or Syria seems to be an attractive solution for them. 

None of the sentences have yet been carried out, but France has said it was intensifying diplomatic efforts to spare its citizens from execution, according to a previous statement released by the French Foreign Ministry.

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