The European Court of Human Rights has condemned France, which has so far refused to repatriate the wives and children of jihadists detained in Syria. European justice had been kidnapped by two families.
A victory for the families of French women and children still held in camps in Syria. The European Court of Human Rights has condemned France to reconsider the requests for repatriation of the families of jihadists to Syria. Requests to be reviewed by Paris as soon as possible.
“In execution of its sentence, the Court specifies that it is up to the French government to resume as soon as possible the examination of the applicants’ requests, surrounding it with adequate guarantees against arbitrariness”, indicated the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, the highest body.
“France cannot refuse to let them in”
European justice had been kidnapped by the parents and grandparents of two French women, wives of jihadists, stranded in the camps in Syria with their children. These two women had left France in 2014 and 2015 to reach Syria where they gave birth to their children. In April 2019, the Council of State rejected their repatriation requests, believing that they did not fall within the jurisdiction of the French judge.
The European Court of Human Rights condemned Paris for failing to comply with Protocol No. 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that “no one can be deprived of the right to enter the territory of the State of which he is a national”. “In other words, the ECHR states ‘these are French citizens and France cannot refuse to let them in’, analysis for BFMTV.com Me Laurence Roques, lawyer and chair of the Freedom and Human Rights Commission at the National Bar Association of the Advise.
France has always applied a “case by case” policy regarding its French citizens detained in Syrian camps since the fall of the Islamic State. During the summer, Paris repatriated 35 minors and 16 mothers who had previously been detained in jihadist prison camps in northeastern Syria. Until then, only 35 children had been repatriated to France since March 2019.
Specifically, an independent authority will have to review the requests submitted by the families of French women detained in Syria. “It is a victory, because there is a condemnation,” said Me Laurence Roques, who assures that the families of these French women will be able to return to the ECHR if France does not respect the decision just made. Paris will also have to pay 18,000 euros and 13,200 euros to the two applicant families for costs and expenses.
“The court says to France ‘your return policy is illegible'”, believes the lawyer.
Paris was not condemned, however, for the argument advanced by the lawyers of the families of these French women who felt that France “knowingly and deliberately exposes them to inhuman and degrading treatment” by leaving them in camps in Syria. The ECHR held that these fields did not fall under the jurisdiction of France.
More generally, advocates of a massive return policy hope that this Wednesday ruling by the European Court of Human Rights will spur a new doctrine. “We hope that the decision will affect the positioning of the other European countries” which still refuse to repatriate their citizens, concludes Me Laurence Roques.