ADVTNGO – Based on a report by FIDH, Saturday, 23 May 2020, marks the fifth annual EU Day Against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. FIDH, REDRESS and ECCHR call on the EU and its member states to prioritise victims’ rights in their efforts to combat impunity and to maximise the impact of prosecutions beyond EU member states.
The focus of this year’s EU Day Against Impunity on the cumulative prosecution of foreign fighters for terrorism-related charges and for serious international crimes is a timely and useful reminder of the important role the EU and its member states play in fighting impunity and improving victims’ access to justice.
In recent decades, an increasing number of EU member states have established dedicated war crimes units to investigate serious international crimes committed abroad and to prosecute them in their own national courts.
Report says that, The EU and its member states must strive to ensure that atrocity crimes are prosecuted for what they are, including with regard to prosecutions of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. It is not sufficient for foreign fighters to be prosecuted for terrorism-related charges alone, where there is also evidence supporting international crimes charges.
Moreover, for accountability efforts inside the EU to be meaningful for victims and affected communities, and to support transitional justice in the countries concerned, the EU and member states must do more to ensure the impact of international crimes trials in Europe extends beyond the courtroom. They must be innovative in their outreach strategies, closely cooperate with civil society actors working on the ground, and facilitate victims’ active participation in proceedings—ensuring that trials in Europe fully contribute to accountability and justice.
Also, The Genocide Network said in the report that the legal basis for prosecuting former IS members should be amended, arguing the group’s activities in Iraq and Syria fulfilled legal criteria under international humanitarian law as an “organized non-state armed group.”
“Therefore, its members and foreign terrorist fighters could be responsible for committing war crimes and other core international crimes.”
In one case a Dutch jihadist fighter was sentenced to over seven years in the Netherlands for sharing a picture of himself on Facebook laughing next to a crucified man.