Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The Kurdish-led administration of northeast Syria, announced that it will put on trial foreign Islamic State (ISIS) militants currently in its custody, citing the international community’s failure to establish a specialised court to handle these prosecutions and refusal of governments to repatriate their citizens as the main reasons behind their decision.
Between 2014 to 2019, thousands of militants from around the world joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq. According to the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES), Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured more than 10,000 ISIS militants plus their families in the war to defeat the group that ended with a final battle in Baghouz, eastern Syria. The fighters are kept in detention centres while the families, including children, are kept in camps.
The US Department of State estimated that the fighters included approximately 5,000 Syrians, 3,000 Iraqis, and 2,000 from other countries. Repatriation of foreign fighters has been slow, with many governments reluctant to bring their citizens home amid security concerns and doubts they could have sufficient evidence to obtain convictions.
This is not the first time that Kurdish forces announced an intention to prosecute ISIS fighters. In 2020, it said it would soon begin trials under international monitoring led by Sweden.