SDF call once again for the establishment of an International Court to prosecute ISIS members

The Syrian Democratic Forces have appealed to the international community to create a special international court to prosecute ISIS terrorists. Such a tribunal could be the solution to stop the revival of the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have once again spoken out in favour of the establishment of a special international court to prosecute members of the terrorist group Islamic State. "The solution to the issue of ISIS prisoners in Northern and Eastern Syria is key to preventing the resurgence of the organization and depriving it of its tools for propaganda, recruiting new terrorists and preventing terrorist attacks through sleeper cells" the SDF said on Sunday.

SDF: Victims need justice

There is no legal possibility to prosecute foreign terrorists in Northern and Eastern Syria. Through trials under the umbrella of an international tribunal in the autonomous region, the ISIS jihadists would be held accountable and tried where they committed their crimes, the SDF said. In this way, fair trials could be organized in accordance to international law and human rights treaties. The SDF also warned that the victims of the terrorist group would only experience reappraisal and justice through such a special court. Since the capture of the last ISIS bastion Baghoz in eastern Syria in spring 2019 and the arrest of thousands of ISIS supporters, the SDF and the Autonomous Administration authorities have been campaigning for the establishment of a tribunal, as it was for those during the genocide in Rwanda and during crimes committed during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. The international community is hesitant, however – and this could have fatal consequences.

Reorganization is being driven forward in reception centers

In the Hol reception and internment camp near Hesekê, which is considered a hotbed of ISIS, further radicalization is taking place, and the hierarchies from the old caliphate are still in place. More than 60,000 people live in the camp, around half of whom are members of ISIS. The SDF carried out several security operations and searches in Camp Hol in the last few weeks and months, because there are repeated murders of those who won’t obey ISIS rules. Hundreds of jihadists and cell members were arrested, and the number of murders fell significantly as a result of these detentions. The reorganization in the camp is mainly carried out by foreign ISIS supporters. The women pass on the extremist ideology of the terrorist militia to minors in organized classrooms. The degree of radicalization among children is already dangerously high. The "fighters" themselves, around 10,000, are held separately in detention centers.

The UN special tribunal for Shengal genocide failed due to opposition from Russia and China

In Shengal, too, an international tribunal against ISIS terrorists has been repeatedly called for in order to bring those responsible of genocide committed in August 2014 against the Yazidi people to justice. However, as the world powers lack the political will, such a special court has not yet come about for Shengal victims either. The International Criminal Court cannot investigate because Iraq, like Syria, the US, Russia, China, India and Turkey, is one of the countries that have not ratified the founding statute of the Court. In order to indict alleged ISIS criminals in The Hague anyway, a resolution by the UN Security Council is necessary. So far, this has failed due to resistance from Russia and China. In Germany, some ISIS members have appeared in court according to the international law principle enshrined in the International Criminal Code.