The Kurdistan Regional Government’s envoy in North America says Canada and the West must bring back their ISIS detainees to face trial.
And she says if the law is not able to support their prosecutions, maybe the laws need to be changed.
“I do believe it’s the responsibility of every country, every government to bring back its own nationals and put them on trial, and that would be my message to Prime Minister Trudeau,” said Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman in an interview with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson.
“I understand that some countries are concerned that perhaps they don’t have enough evidence to convict somebody, that perhaps the laws of certain European and Western countries are such that after 10 years or so those people would be released.
“Well, perhaps it’s time that you looked at your laws.”
Tens of thousands of people were captured after the final battles of ISIS and are being held in Kurdish camps in northeastern Syria, part of the autonomous region of Kurdistan which encompasses parts of the north of both Syria and Iraq.
The Kurds were key allies to the West in fighting ISIS, losing about 11,000 of its forces to ISIS, which drew thousands of foreign fighters from around the world.
Among those detained in the camps are roughly 40 Canadians.
None have been charged by the RCMP.
Kurdish authorities have criticized Canada along with other Western countries for not repatriating their citizens to face justice at home for their crimes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canadian ISIS fighters knew they were leaving the security of Canadian law when they left to fight for the terrorist group, and that he will not put consular staff in danger by trying to provide on-the-ground assistance to those in the camps.
But Abdul Rahman and other Kurdish officials have warned they don’t have the capacity to handle the detainees indefinitely.
Their capacities are also being strained by the offensive invasion of neighbouring Turkey after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops from the region.
He later shifted his position, saying he would leave troops to protect the parts of the region containing oil reserves.
Abdul Rahman says countries should be bringing their fighters back now, and that leaving them in the camps risks creating a new generation of extremists.
“Don’t just leave it to the Iraqs or Syrians or Kurds to manage these camps. This is the responsibility of the international community, and I would include Canada and I would include the UK and France and Germany and the United States in that,” she said.
“It’s our collective responsibility to deal with these camps and to ensure we don’t have future fighters who are now growing up there.”