[New publication] Returning foreign fighters: Responses, legal challenges and ways forwardPublished 3 April 2023
The new edited volume Returning foreign fighters: Responses, legal challenges and ways forward (T.M.C. Asser Press), by editors Francesca Capone, Christophe Paulussen and Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi, zooms in on the responses by the international community and individual states to returning foreign fighters (FFs) and their families. The book focuses on returnees from Syria and Iraq to European countries.
Counter-terrorism laws at the international, European, and national levels are often created hastily and in response to high-profile terrorist attacks, reflecting a sense of panic. Unfortunately, these knee-jerk reactions can become entrenched and perpetuate themselves, resulting in a counter-terrorism legal framework that not only raises human rights concerns but is also ineffective at addressing the actual threat.
The book Returning foreign fighters: Responses, legal challenges and ways forward zooms in on these often rapid responses by the international community and individual states to returning foreign fighters and their families, focusing on returnees from Syria and Iraq to European countries. It also addresses the fate of family members of perpetrators of violence, and the threat posed to European or other nations by conflict-hardened returnees who would need care and rehabilitation, but who might also constitute a genuine security threat to others.
‘Learning by doing’
As states and international organisations are still ‘learning by doing’, the role of the academic community is to help steer the process by bridging the divide between international standards and their implementation at the national level and between security concerns and human rights law.
Furthermore, the academic community can and should assist in identifying ways forward that are both effective, sustainable and international law-compliant. Those are, ultimately, the goals that this book, which is a follow-up publication to the 2016 volume Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond (T.M.C. Asser Press), seeks to pursue.
The observations, recommendations and calls for caution included in this book will be useful in future debates on (returning) FFs, both in the academic world and in the world of policy makers and practitioners, as well as to the public at large.
“This excellent collection of eleven expert studies on the phenomenon of foreign (terrorist) fighters allows the interested reader to gain a thorough understanding of the phenomenon and the policies and measures undertaken by the international community and individual states to combat it. Historical, political, jurisdictional, evidentiary, judicial, punitive, administrative, humanitarian and many other aspects of the matter are carefully examined by the skilful authors. The individual chapters have been expertly edited by a strong editorial team and thereby integrated into a book that will prove a rewarding reading experience. “
Martin Scheinin, University of Oxford and former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism
About the book
Returning Foreign Fighters: Responses, Legal Challenges and Ways Forward
Editors: Francesca Capone, Christophe Paulussen, Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi
Publisher: T.M.C. Asser Press
Hardcover ISBN 978-94-6265-570-6
Specific to this book:
- Covers/provides recommendations to highly topical, legally complex issues related to (returning) foreign fighters
- Written by prominent experts in this field
- Contributions are not only critical from a more academic point of view but they keep in mind the realities of practice
- With a foreword by Martin Scheinin, British Academy Global Professor, University of Oxford; Former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism
About the authors:
Francesca Capone (Istituto DIRPOLIS of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna).
Christophe Paulussen (T.M.C. Asser Instituut, ICCT The Hague).
Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi (Manchester International Law Centre, University of Manchester, School of Law in Manchester)
Interested in legal approaches to counter-terrorism?
Register now for the 17th Annual Summer Law Programme on International Criminal Law and International Legal & Comparative Approaches to Counter-Terrorism, co-organised with the War Crimes Research Office of American University’s Washington College of Law, from 30 May - 23 June 2023. In this unique training programme, selected students from top US law colleges and universities will learn from internationally renowned legal practitioners and scholars. Additional places are available to other interested law students and professionals who wish to learn more about international criminal law and legal aspects of counter-terrorism. Read more.
Join us from 28 August – 1 September 2023, for our 13th Advanced summer programme on terrorism, counter-terrorism and the rule of law, co-hosted with ICCT The Hague. In this thought-provoking summer programme, you will focus on the international and domestic legal aspects of countering terrorism and violent extremism, in inspiring and interactive classes by leading academics and practitioners in the field. Read more.