Not one of 400 re­turn­ing IS killers charged

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY NIGEL NEL­SON Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

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

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