12 July 2019, 12:15-14:00
Register start 20 June 2019
Register end 11 July 2019
In late March 2019, the so-called ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) surrendered its last territorial stronghold of Baghuz in eastern Syria. However, such apparent victory over the group should not make us forget the still-problematic reality on the ground.
In advancing against ISIS on the territory of Syria, the SDF – which was effectively leading the fight on the ground with aerial support of the international coalition – has indeed surrendered more than 12,000 individuals from over 70 nationalities. Attracted by ISIS’ ideology of ultra-radical Islam, these men (the so-called ‘foreign fighters’), women and children travelled to the Middle-East in order to join the group. They are now being held in and around 3 refugee camps – Roj, Ain Issa and al-Hol – in northeast Syria, which are administered by the SDF with the financial support of the United States. According to journalistic reports, the living conditions there are increasingly worrying because of lack of food, water, electricity and medical supplies. The International Committee of the Red Cross has conducted visits and confirmed these gruesome claims.
It goes without saying that the fate of those under SDF's custody and (allegedly) affiliated with ISIS is beyond uncertain. The SDF has indeed repeatedly stated that, without meaningful support from the international community, it has neither the willingness nor the resources to hold them indefinitely – thus insisting that they be repatriated by their countries of nationality. With the notable exceptions of the United States, Russia, France, Kazakhstan and Indonesia, concerned States have so far overwhelmingly categorically refused that their nationals return home due to security concerns. In late May 2019, Sweden formulated the alternative suggestion of establishing, in Jordan, ‘a tribunal or some other legal mechanism’ to prosecute foreign individuals (i.e. neither Syrian nor Iraqi nationals) who fought for ISIS.
Complementary to the closed expert-meeting recently organized with Fight for Humanity, this IHL Talk will address the humanitarian, policy and legal challenges related to the fate of foreign fighters and their relatives (allegedly) affiliated with ISIS and who are currently detained by the SDF in northeast Syria.
Incidentally, Diakonia’s international humanitarian law resource desk in Lebanon is currently working on a legal brief focusing on the legal status of the women and children under the custody of the SDF. The document will soon be available to its partners.
You need to register via this online form to attend this IHL Talk.
The IHL Talks are a series of events, hosted by the Geneva Academy, on international humanitarian law and current humanitarian topics. Every two months, academic experts, practitioners, policymakers and journalists discuss burning humanitarian issues and their regulation under international law.
This IHL Talk addressed the humanitarian, policy and legal challenges related to the fate of foreign fighters and their relatives (allegedly) affiliated with ISIS and who are currently detained by the SDF in northeast Syria.
Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis of these conflicts. It has been updated to include recent developments, including the current peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal provides a detailed analysis of this conflict, including information about parties, classification and applicable international law.
Join us for our open house to learn more about this part-time programme designed professionals, meet staff, students and alumni, and discuss career opportunities.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, reviews the origins of international criminal law, its relationship with the international legal order including the UN Security Council and its coexistence with national justice institutions. The scope of international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – is considered alongside initiatives to expand or add to these categories.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform collaborates with a series of actors to reflect on the implementation of international human rights norms at the local level and propose solutions to improve uptake of recommendations and decisions taken by Geneva-based human rights bodies at the local level.