Justice Denied

From the Daily Mirror:

None of the 400 citizens returning here after fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have been charged with war crimes.

Yet the Council of Europe’s legal affairs committee recently ruled membership of the terror group, also known as Daesh, is enough for prosecution at the Hague’s International Criminal Court.

Labour Shadow Minister Liam Byrne, representing Britain, backed the decision.

He said: “We know British citizens were soldiers and commanders in Daesh’s army of evil. Yet not a single soldier captured on their return has been charged with war crimes or genocide.”

MI5 estimates that 850 Brits have slipped into Iraq and Syria to fight for IS – half of whom have returned.

They were outside the jurisdiction of the ICC while there but could have been deported to the Hague upon their return.

Mr Byrne added: “This cannot possibly be justice. The Government must look again at throwing the full weight of international law at those who took part in crimes against humanity.”

Byrne also had an op ed in The Times of London:

Britain has signed the Treaty of Rome. We support the International Criminal Court. Indeed, under the 1948 Genocide Convention, we have an obligation to take prompt and effective action both to prevent and punish acts of genocide. And we can try our own nationals for participating in crimes abroad, not least because there are good grounds for bringing charges against even those, who might claim “they were merely following orders”. UK policy is very clear; we allow the exercise of universal jurisdiction, like the ICC, over offences under international law.

That means we can prosecute those of our citizens caught in this country, who fought with militants abroad but then came home to escape a death on the battlefield.

MI5 believe that over 800 of our fellow country men women went to fight in Iraq and Syria. Over 400 have come home. Perhaps 150 have been deprived of their citizenship. But evidence supplied to a Council of Europe investigation suggests that just “eight returnees have been convicted for terrorist offences”. And answers to me in parliament last week confirm that not a single returning fighter has been prosecuted either for genocide or war-crimes.

Justice denied… is collaboration in both past and future crimes.