Q : Two lawyers are attacking the French state before the UN Committee Against Torture; they are calling for the repatriation of all children of French jihadists detained in Syria. They claim that only allowing the return of children who have been orphaned constitutes “discrimination” against those whose mothers are still alive. What is your response?
A : We have taken note of this new request from the lawyers of the families of jihadists.
Our position is constant: With respect to children, their situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and determined in the best interests of the child, in accordance with international law.
The decision to allow several isolated orphans under 5 years of age to return to France was taken in light of the situation of these very young and particularly vulnerable children.
Their situation is different to that of children accompanied by their mothers who have parental authority. [These are parents who are primarily responsible for the situation in which they have placed their own children within a terrorist organization and in a war zone.]
With respect to French adult nationals who were fighters and jihadists who had followed Daesh to the Levant, France’s position has not changed: They must be tried in the territory in which they committed their crimes.
Our decision is based on justice and security concerns.