Momentum in favour of IS court

Mohyeldeen Mohammad Bastian Alexis Vasquez ISIL IS Court Islamic stateMohyeldeen Mohammad (left) together with Bastian Alexis Vasquez in January 2013. The picture is supposedly taken near the front in Syria. Photo: Screendump / Facebook.

Kallmyr “Increasing momentum in favour of IS Court”

Norwegian Minister of Justice and Immigration, Jøran Kallmyr (Progress Party), finds that the support is growing for the proposal to establish an international IS Court for foreign fighters.

“There is an increasing momentum to bring an international solution to life, which will ensure prosecution of those who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to be a part of the Islamic State,” Kallmyr tells NTB.

Kallmyr was in Luxembourg on Friday. An informal breakfast meeting was held there in connection with a Justice and Home Affairs meeting under the auspices of the European Union.

“It was a constructive meeting,” Swedish Minister of the Interior, Mikael Damberg – who hosted the meeting – summarises, adding:

“There is great political support for further work on the matter.”

No conclusion

The case will be explored further through the summer. The Netherlands will organize a new ministerial meeting on the case in connection with the opening of the Main Assembly of the UN (in New York) in the autumn, according to plan.

“Several alternative models are on the table. No final conclusion has been made about which model to go for,” Damberg emphasises.

“There are many difficulties associated with this. We have not said that this is easy,” he warns.

Kallmyr agrees, adding.

“The most important thing now is, however, to quickly investigate what is needed in order to achieve it.”

IS Court must be evaluated further

Norway has participated in the discussions with ten other European countries: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

A meeting at expert level in Stockholm was also held earlier this week, prior to Friday’s ministerial breakfast in Luxembourg.

There are many questions that need to be clarified, according to Damberg. One question is where the international tribunal should be located. Another question is whether an international IS Court should be established, or whether other solutions should be explored – such as a mixed solution where national courts in the region are involved as well.

“The countries have somewhat different preferences,” explains Damberg.

“It is above all, very much agreed upon that we should investigate the possibilities for this further. There is a time window for doing so,” the Swedish Minister of the Interior concludes.



Risk of the death penalty

Iraq and Syria also have their own courts that conduct criminal cases against foreign fighters. In Iraq, were eleven French IS members sentenced to death recently.

Kallmyr informs that he has no knowledge of similar cases against Norwegian nationals in the region:

“The goal of Norway is cooperation that ensures that the death penalty and torture can be avoided.”

“Norwegians who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for IS have, however, made a choice,” he warns.

“They have travelled to what is the worst terrorist regime we have experienced since World War II. They have done terrible acts to others. On top of that, they have done so in countries that they knew have the death penalty,” Kallmyr stresses.

In need of evidence

He adds that a program is already underway in the UN to provide evidence, but that there is a clear prerequisite for disclosure of these, that they do not lead to death penalties.

The access to evidence is an important part of the reason why Norway wants an IS Court in the region, instead of a solution where foreign fighters are prosecuted in their home countries.

“The evidence is far away. Witnesses will, for example, be difficult to bring into Norwegian courtrooms,” The Norwegian Minister of Justice concludes.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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