By the support of the US-led international coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces managed to take control of the last ISIS enclaves in northern and eastern Syria. As a result, the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested thousands of ISIS members of various nationalities. This necessitated work to find a mechanism to deal with a large number of captives, as they can in no way be kept in detention without trial. The autonomous administration repeatedly called on foreign countries to return their citizens, who had joined ISIS, to their countries of origin and send them to trial in their countries. Without any success, the European countries and the United States refused to take in their citizens to their countries for national security reasons as well as difficulties in securing prosecutions due to lack of evidence. This coincided with the failure of international efforts to set up an international court dedicated to prosecuting the non-Syrian ISIS members while they are being held in the SDF prisons. This input led the autonomous administration to express their intention to start prosecuting foreign ISIS members in their prisons. The autonomous administration officials pledged to a fair trial, stressing that this move helps in achieving criminal justice as the victims are Syrians and the violation was committed on Syrian soil, and evidence is available. These statements raised many questions about the eligibility of the judicial system in the autonomous administration areas and its readiness to carry out these trials, or whether the existing judicial system is able to achieve the conditions of a fair trial in accordance with international law and human rights laws.
Justice for Life organization has examined the foundations of the judicial system in the autonomous administration areas and its structure by communicating with two persons who work in the judiciary in different areas of north and east Syria, in addition to a lawyer who is active in the civil society and an official from the autonomous administration. The organization also examined various sources of international covenants and treaties and press research and investigations in order to prepare this report.
Read more: The Trial of the Islamic State’s Members-EN