Jihadis who return home after fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes, said the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, Eurojust, in The Hague and the Genocide Network on Saturday.
Many of these fighters are charged only under national anti-terrorism laws, Eurojust and the Genocide Network – created by the European Union to ensure cooperation between national investigations and prosecutions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – noted in a report.
However, they could be indicted under broader charges based on international laws covering the worst crimes committed during conflicts, they noted.
ISIS should be considered according to international humanitarian law as a party to a non-international armed conflict in Iraq and Syria, the report said.
The group’s members and foreign terrorist combatants can be held responsible for war crimes and other basic international crimes, it added.
Eurojust and Genocide Network “advocate cumulative prosecutions that encompass the full criminal scope of individual perpetrators, enabling longer sentences.” Examples of cumulative prosecutions already exist, for example in France and Germany, the two bodies stressed.
Additionally, “the prosecution of core international crimes is not subject to time limitations,” they pointed out. “This enables prosecutors to work on these cases for decades ahead.”