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Bart Schuurman in de Volkskrant about the conviction of IS fighters

The Netherlands sees thorny dilemmas placed with regard to the conviction of returning IS fighters. The Netherlands, like the other EU member states, does not respond to the Kurds' wish to take back 'their' Syrian people. Bart Schuurman, terrorism expert, states that an international tribunal, flanked by local courts, would still be the least bad solution for the conviction of returning IS fighters, according to de Volkskrant.

Care of human rights

The fact that the Netherlands does not want to take back returning Syrian IS-fighters actually gives the Kurds the free hand to release or hand over returning fighters to the Syrian or Iraqi authorities, with the risk of condemning draconian punishments. Many Dutch people will have no problems with this, but the Dutch government has a constitutional obligation towards nationals to protect them from serious violations of their human rights.


Bart Schuurman is also not waiting for the return of IS fighters. He states that they are 'Terrible people who have not regretted the oddities they have committed'. A detention in the country of origin therefore does not contribute to the compensation of the IS victims. These victims do not live in the Netherlands, but in Syria and Iraq.

International tribunal

As far as Bart Schuurman is concerned, the right solution is to serve a sentence in the region where they have committed their crimes, followed up by a complementary sentence in the Netherlands and a process of reintegration. Attorney Geert-Jan Knoops, also professor of politics of international law, proposes a similar approach. An establishment of an international tribunal for which the highest people in the IS hierarchy have to answer, flanked by local courts. However, this is not yet an answer to the problems that the Kurds are facing at the moment. With the establishment of such a tribunal many years are involved and then it is still questionable whether international legal rules will take effect in the Middle East.

Read the full article here (Dutch).

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