After the defeat of ISIS, thousands of ISIS fighters were captured by the Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria and have been held in several prisons near Hasaka. More than 11,000 ISIS fighters have been guarded by the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is a non-state actor, and still there is no consensus among states on how to bring fighters to justice. While ISIS fighters who were captured in Iraq were charged and sentenced by the Iraqi government, the prosecution of those fighters who were surrounded in Northeast Syria is still posing a big question due to several factors. First, there is no official state authority in Northeast Syria, and they have been held by a non-state actor. Second, ISIS fighters do not belong to one country, they represent more than 60 countries. Third, there is no universal solution to deal with foreign terrorist fighters who travel to other countries and join terrorist groups. There are several options that have been considered or discussed by states such as establishing an ad hoc tribunal and transferring them to Iraqi prisons. However, each option has its shortages and challenges, and a transitional justice approach is the only law-compliant solution to try foreign fighters. Even though many states are reluctant to take back their citizens considering them as a threat to their national security, repatriating and bringing them to justice in their home countries remains as a sole law compliant solution.
15:00 - 15:05 Opening remarks
15:05 - 15:35 Research presentation: A Transitional Justice Approach to Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Challenges and Limits of Prosecuting and Repatriating former ISIS Fighters and their Associates
Mrs. Cholpon Orozbekova
Director of the Bulan Institute for Peace and Innovations and an Associate Research Fellow at the OSCE Academy
15:35 - 16:00 Q&A Session
About the Speaker & the Fellowship
Cholpon Orozobekova is a conflict analyst and terrorism expert based in Geneva, Switzerland. She has been researching religious extremism and state policies toward ISIS fighters since 2018. Her book “Global Jihadism and International Peace” will be published by Rowman/Hamilton Books in 2022. Cholpon lectures as a guest-speaker at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Member of European Expert Network on Terrorism. Currently, Cholpon is a director of the Bulan Institute for Peace Innovations, a research institute based in Geneva. She holds an Executive Master in International Negotiations and Policy Making from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Master of Advanced Studies in International and European Security from University of Geneva jointly with Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and MA in International Relations/Political Science from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. Cholpon worked in several international organizations in Geneva, and her analyses on interstate politics and security issues in Central Asia were published by the Diplomat Magazine, Jamestown Foundation, Asia Times, IWPR and RFE/RL.
The OSCE Academy Associate Research Fellowship (ARF) was launched in 2017 and aims to support PhD Candidates and/or Post-Doctoral researchers in conducting their research projects and provide institutional affiliation to independent researchers. The length of the fellowship is from six to twelve months and is open for Bishkek-based and non-Bishkek residents. The Academy provides Fellows with access to the library and all available online resources as well as with an opportunity to present their research and to deliver a lecture to students and the public. The Academy assists the Associate Research Fellows to make a presentation on her/his research and to publish their results in one of the OSCE Academy’s outlets.