[Masterclass] The modern foreign fighters phenomenon - repatriation, prosecution and/or reintegration?

15 - 16 November 2021
  • Starts at: 09:00h
  • Fee: €995,- €495,-(Students and NGO-workers)
  • Venue: Online
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
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The phenomenon of foreign fighters - individuals, who driven mainly by ideology, religion and/or kinship, leave their country of origin or their country of habitual residence to join a party engaged in an armed conflict - is nothing new. Yet, in contrast to earlier conflicts, the current conflict in Syria and Iraq distinguishes itself, having drawn a staggering 40,000 of such fighters from over a hundred countries around the world. This unprecedented resurgence of foreign fighting has captured and held the attention of states and international bodies alike in an arguably unique manner.

Although the terrorist organisation Islamic State is not defeated yet, its so-called Caliphate no longer exists. While trials of alleged foreign fighters are ongoing in Iraq and occasionally abroad, between thousand and two thousand individuals remain detained by Kurdish authorities in Syria. Their fate, as well as that of their families, remains uncertain. Many - especially Western - governments refuse to repatriate their citizens. At the same time, the worsening humanitarian and security conditions in the camps have led to various calls from international organisations, security experts and the Kurds themselves, for states of origin to take their responsibility. The reluctance of states to repatriate often derives from political and procedural challenges to prosecute that we will discuss and demystify.

This Masterclass will delve into the question of how states can address the legal and policy conundrums triggered by this contemporary form of foreign fighting. The Masterclass will be addressing particularly important and urgent aspects of this question, including:

  • international legal and security aspects of repatriation;
  • citizenship stripping;
  • evidentiary challenges, including battlefield evidence;
  • international crimes and universal jurisdiction
  • addressing the needs of families and children of (alleged) foreign fighters;
  • potential impact of the developments in Afghanistan

Download the preliminary programme

All the sessions will be provided by the Asser Institute’s core researchers on countering terrorism, Dr Rumyana van Ark and Dr Christophe Paulussen, complemented by practitioners, such as prosecutors who have tried cases of foreign fighters themselves.

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After the successful completion of this Masterclass, you will receive a professional certificate from the T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

Terms and conditions
Read the terms and conditions for the masterclass series.

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