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Sweden Backs Establishing Int'l Tribunal for ‘Foreign ISIS Fighters’

Sweden Backs Establishing Int'l Tribunal for ‘Foreign ISIS Fighters’

Thursday, 7 March, 2019 - 10:00
People leaving flowers on the steps on Sergels Torg following Friday's terror attack in central Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Noella Johansson/TT News Agency via REUTERS
Berlin, Stockholm- Asharq Al-Awsat
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven expressed Wednesday his country's support for the establishment of an international tribunal to investigate foreign ISIS militants who are suspected of involvement in war crimes such as mass murder in Syria and Iraq.

"This is pure and ritual evil and those who are guilty must take responsibility for this," Aftonbladet newspaper quoted him as saying.

Lofven refused to determine the details by which the tribunal would be established, and stressed that the conditions were different compared to the time when tribunals were established following the genocides in Rwanda or Balkan wars.

"If you commit terrorist offenses or war crimes, you must be sentenced for such crimes, no matter where it happens," he added.

In a related matter, Reuters reported that Austria said it would not help repatriate any citizens who fought for ISIS and other extremist groups, as countries across the West wrestle with how to deal with returning militants.

Hundreds of people are believed to have left Europe to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. With the group down to its last shred of territory, several have asked to come home.

The cabinet has sent a bill to parliament on consular assistance that makes clear that it can be denied to citizens if there is a threat to public order, the government said in a statement.

“There will in future be no assistance for people who join a terrorist organization,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative governing in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, told journalists.

“Anyone who leaves Austria to murder, torture or acts against religious minorities and those who think differently elsewhere in the world has no right to Austria’s help,” he added. He stopped short of saying they would be barred from returning.

US President Donald Trump last month urged Britain, France, and Germany to take back more than 800 captured ISIS fighters and put them on trial. But European countries have resisted pressure to take in citizens who had sworn allegiance to groups determined to destroy the West.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners agreed this week on a plan to strip some Germans who fight for ISIS of their citizenship. Britain last month revoked the citizenship of a teenager who had left London when she was aged 15 to join ISIS in Syria.

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