Foreign terrorist fighters - Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing (12 August 2019)

Q : Can you confirm that the UN wrote to the French government to denounce the transfer of French jihadists from Syria to Iraq? Do you have any comment?

A : Agnès Callamard’s allegations are not based on any prior exchange of views with the French authorities, as provided by the special procedures of the Human Rights Council. They are completely unsubstantiated, based on pure speculation and represent her own opinion. Indeed, the special rapporteurs appointed by the UN Human Rights Council are independent experts. They speak on their own behalf, not on behalf of the UN.

In regard to adult French nationals, men and women who joined Daesh to fight in the Levant, France’s position remains steadfast: They must be tried as close as possible to the places where they committed their crimes. It’s a matter of both justice and security. We respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi state, including its judicial institutions which have stated that they have jurisdiction to try French fighters belonging to Daesh, without any sort of financial compensation whatsoever. The Iraqi authorities know that France opposes capital punishment everywhere and in all circumstances, and that it asks that death sentences not be applied.

Finally, France reaffirms its unwavering fight against terrorism and its determination to see that justice is done wherever Daesh has committed its barbaric crimes.