On 24-25 May, IIJ welcomed 55 practitioners (prosecutors, investigators, judges) and policymakers from 20 countries and nine international humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies and academic institutions, to a meeting on Repatriating Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Displaced Persons from Northeast Syria, held with support from the Government of the United States.
Participants gathered at IIJ headquarters to discuss lessons gained through working on repatriating, rehabilitating, reintegrating and -- where possible -- prosecuting and incarcerating their nationals who remain in Northeast Syria since the fall of ISIS in 2019. Subject matter experts shared with each participating nation challenges associated with prosecuting repatriated nationals from northeast Syria, including triaging cases, managing evidence, considerations on pre- and post-trial detention, post-release monitoring, and alternatives to prosecution. The meeting also provided participants the opportunity to learn from their counterparts in countries that have successfully prosecuted repatriated their nationals, giving those who are still considering repatriation and those in the process of repatriating nationals the tools and contacts they need to do so successfully.
Going forward, the IIJ is planning to continue this series of practitioner-focused meetings to identify high-priority areas for improvement across the entire FTF repatriation process and to build the capacity of relevant stakeholders.