Questions about Jurisdiction on Crimes in Syria and Iraq

22 March 2017

Who should try cases of genocide, mass atrocities and war crimes committed in Iraq by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and Daesh)? It is a complicated question that doesn't have a simple answer.

When it comes to prosecuting Islamic State fighters and terrorists for crimes and atrocities committed in Iraq, the Iraqi government has “exclusive law enforcement authority” on Iraqi territory, said a Canadian government source. However, “other avenues that can be pursued include: a referral to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council and the establishment of an ad hoc international court or tribunal.”

In addition, countries of origin of Islamic State fighters/terrorists that capture perpetrators within their jurisdictions can prosecute them for crimes committed in Iraq or Syria. For example, last month Sweden convicted an Islamic State fighter for crimes perpetrated in Syria.

Who has jurisdiction? Click here to read more.

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