(New York, N.Y. / Berlin) – On November 1, 2022, 31-year-old German Zuhal A. and her four children arrived at an airport near Frankfurt, returned from a Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-managed camp in Northeast Syria. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany has now concluded its repatriations of allegedly ISIS-affiliated women and minors. It argued that the remaining women did not wish to return, which means that their children will also stay, as they will not be repatriated without their mothers. The mission was carried out in cooperation with the Netherlands, who repatriated 11 women and 33 minors. After years of refusal, France finally resumed repatriating French minors and adult women in July 2022. Still, several hundred European women, men, and minors remain in Northeast Syria.
While there is no consensus whether states of origin have a legal obligation to repatriate their citizens from Northeast Syria, the urgent need for repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and their families has become evident from a humanitarian, legal, and security perspective. In the context of mounting national and international pressure, several Western governments have increased repatriations of European women and minors from the camps in the course of 2022.
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is thus delighted to invite you to this webinar to discuss recent repatriation missions of European nationals, the role of the September 2022 verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), as well as challenges in the prosecution of returnees in their home countries, including in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
CEP Senior Research Analyst Sofia Koller will present some results of her research project on European returnees, including policy papers on recent developments in repatriation (co-authored with Carlotta Sallach and Alexander Schiele) as well as on the prosecution of returnees in France and Germany. Tanya Mehra from ICCT will focus on legal and practical implications of the ECtHR decision as well as repatriation and prosecution in the Netherlands in comparison to other European countries.
The webinar will be conducted in English via Zoom.
Date: December 6, 2022
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET / 16:00 CET to 11:00 am ET / 17:00 CET
Senior Research Analyst, Counter Extremism Project
Tanya Mehra LL.M
Senior Research Fellow and Programme Lead (Rule of Law Responses to Terrorism) at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague
Moderator and Introductory Remarks:
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler
Senior Director, Counter Extremism Project
The presentations will be followed by a Q&A-session open to all participants.
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