In May 2020, the European Network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes’ (the ‘Genocide Network’) and Eurojust, an EU agency, published a report ‘Cumulative prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters for core international crimes and terrorism-related offence.’
The report makes a clear case that:
‘The acts of violence meet the legal definitions of core international crimes and should therefore be investigated and prosecuted by national authorities to avoid impunity for these crimes. Prosecuting Daesh fighters for core international crimes they have committed will not only fulfil the legal obligation of States to prosecute the most serious international crimes, crimes against humanity, war crimes or the crime of genocide, but will also lead to a more tailored approach, longer sentences and the full criminal responsibility of perpetrators. Furthermore, by recognising and naming these crimes for what they are, justice is brought to the victims.’
Over the last five years, Lord Alton of Liverpool, peer at the UK House of Lords, has been raising the need to prosecute Daesh fighters (and Daesh foreign fighters on their return home) for international crimes, most notably, for genocide against religious minorities as Yazidis and Christians. The Coalition for Genocide Response was established to, among others, continue with this work.
In July 2019, a recommendation on prosecuting Daesh fighters was included in the Bishop of Truro review (the Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians). Recommendation 21b, that was accepted by the UK Government, calls upon the ‘FCO to champion the prosecution of ISIS perpetrators of sex crimes against Yazidi and Christian women, not only as terrorists.’
The Coalition for Genocide Response sent a written submission to the FCO calling upon it to ensure that as they champion the prosecutions of Daesh fighters, they ensure that Daesh fighters are prosecuted for international crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, and where not possible, a litany of other criminal conduct.
The Coalition for Genocide Response restates the urgent need to 1) recognise the Daesh atrocities for what they are and 2) prosecute the perpetrators for the crimes.