Not one of 400 returning IS killers charged
THE UK has not pressed for war crimes charges against more than 400 citizens returning here after fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
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, repre- senting 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.”
The Council of Europe is not part of the EU but its 47 member states are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights. Last year, it declared: “Individuals who act in the name of Deash have perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law.” That was backed by a unanimous vote in Parliament in April 2016. MPs urged “an immediate referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the ICC so that perpetrators can be brought to justice”.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said we are a strong supporter of the ICC but added: “To date, no British citizens have been charged in the UK with war crimes in relation to Daesh activities.”
CRIMES An IS fighter in Syria