CEP Webinar: Back From Raqqa – The Prosecution Of Returnees In Germany And France

(New York, N.Y. / Berlin) – Approximately 30 percent of the German women and girls who traveled to Syria and Iraq, mostly to join ISIS, and returned to Germany, have been prosecuted. They were convicted for, inter alia, membership in or support of a foreign terrorist organization, violations of the war weapons control act, and war crimes against property. In addition, the German judicial system has started to recognize the role that women have played in perpetrating international crimes against the Yazidi community by prosecuting them for crimes against humanity as well as aiding and abetting genocide.

In Germany, female returnees have been systematically prosecuted since 2018. The verdicts have helped provide nuance regarding their different profiles and roles with ISIS, potential security risks, as well as rehabilitation needs. In addition, the prosecution of German female returnees for alleged violations of international criminal law—including slavery as well as sexual and gender-based crimes—has raised the question of how to adopt similar approaches in other European countries, including France. Finally, Germany has been repatriating minors and their mothers from Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-managed camps in northeast Syria, which enabled the prosecution of adult women. However, the surviving male (alleged) ISIS members remain detained in SDF-managed prisons. Consequently, they have not been prosecuted in Kurdish-held territories or in Germany.

The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is delighted to invite you to this webinar, where Sofia Koller, senior research analyst at CEP Germany, will be presenting her policy paper on the prosecution of female returnees in Germany—the first in a series of CEP publications analyzing the prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration of returnees in different European countries. This research paper serves as the starting point of a discussion on the approach to prosecution of returnees in Germany and France, the role of international criminal law, as well as broader challenges of human rights-based processes of risk and needs assessment, rehabilitation, and reintegration of ISIS-affiliated men, women, and minors.

The webinar will be conducted in English via Zoom.

Date:   October 17, 2022

Time:  9:30 a.m. ET / 15:30 CET to 11:00 am ET / 17:00 CET



Sofia Koller

Senior Research Analyst, Counter Extremism Project (CEP)

Alexandra Lily Kather

Legal Advisor, The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)

Anne-Clémentine Larroque

Historical Analyst, Anti-Terrorist Investigation Unit, Judicial Court of Paris

Moderator and Introductory Remarks:

Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler

Senior Director, Counter Extremism Project (CEP)

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A-session open to all participants.


To participate in this webinar please register via this link: 

Please register up to 1 hour before the webinar start so that your registration can be approved in time.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to colleagues with an interest in the subject.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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