Yazidis sue Germany for failing to repatriate ISIS fighters for trial

Germany has repeatedly said it wants to bring its citizens home from Syria to stand trial, but has highlighted many obstacles.
Thursday 30/05/2019
Iraqi Yazidi women sit outside the Temple of Lalish, in a valley near the Iraqi city of Dohuk, April 16. (AFP)
Iraqi Yazidi women sit outside the Temple of Lalish, in a valley near the Iraqi city of Dohuk, April 16. (AFP)

FRANKFURT – A Yazidi women’s association said Wednesday it has sued two ministers in Germany for failing to repatriate German citizens who had fought for the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria to stand trial at home.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north and east Syria has offered to hand over some 61 German prisoners suspected of having fought for ISIS, the Germany-based Federation of the Yezidi Women’s Council said in court documents seen by AFP.

Berlin’s “failure to accept the offer and to make possible the urgently necessary prosecution constitutes the crime of obstruction of punishment,” they allege.

Germany has repeatedly said it wants to bring its citizens home from Syria to stand trial, but has highlighted many obstacles.

“Legal cooperation is impossible since there are no state structures” in the relevant parts of Syria, a justice ministry spokesman told AFP.

“We haven’t received the criminal complaint, so we can’t comment.”

He added there were 22 outstanding arrest warrants against German fighters held in Syria.

Germany has recently retrieved a suspect from Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

The young man was suspected of the rape and murder of a teenager in the west German city Wiesbaden. He fled to northern Iraq last year, but was quickly brought back by federal police after talks with the autonomous administration in Erbil.

The operation was controversial as Germany has no extradition treaty with Iraq.

In Syria, hundreds of foreign ISIS fighters are being held by the SDF, made up of Kurdish and Arabic groups.

The Yazidi are a minority in Iraq who fled in their thousands as ISIS advanced into the country from Syria in 2014.

At the jihadists’ hands, thousands of Yazidi women and teenagers were subjected to kidnapping, rape and other inhumane treatment such as being held as slaves, the UN has said.

(AFP)