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Foreign jihadists should be judged in the region: Belgian PM

19 Feb 2019, 00:42 ( 3 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel. File Photo Xinhua.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Monday that foreign jihadists -- including Belgians - held in Syria should be judged "at the maximum level" in the region, invoking the possibility of creating an international court to deal with such cases.

   Following a meeting in Brussels with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Michel called for a European and international approach to dealing with the return of "foreign terrorists fighters" (FTF).

   Michel said he was "in favour of judicial decisions in the region," and acknowledged that the situations in Syria and Iraq were different.

   "One can also think of a form of international justice," added Michel, stressing that he intended to take into account the security of Belgium's population.

   Michel's meeting with Pelosi came after U.S. President Donald Trump had made a unilateral decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, provoking ire and concern from a number of allied countries.

   The U.S. president over the weekend called on European countries, including Britain, France and Germany, to take back its nationals fighting as jihadists captured in Syria to be put on trial.

   However, the fate and identity of foreigners detained have yet to be clarified. They include French, German, and English citizens. Several men are in prison, while women and children are in refugee camps.

   Trump's decision leaves the EU's member states, among them Belgium, in an awkward position. On the one hand, they are reluctant to extradite their citizens captured in Iraq and Syria while the war on terror persists, but on the other hand they don't support capital punishment that may be imposed by judicial courts in the Middle.