[JURIST] The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], Fatou Bensouda [official profile], said in an interview [Sueddeutsche Zeitung report, in German] published Thursday that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes charges against Islamic State (IS) [CFR backgrounder] jihadist fighters. Bensouda pointed to credible reports of numerous foreign fighters from countries party to the ICC’s statute, all of whom can can be prosecuted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. A number of European and Arab nations have supplied the ICC with files and background information of alleged IS recruits. The chief prosecutor acknowledged however the significant difficulty and safety concerns involved with investigating crimes in IS occupied countries.
IS has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. Earlier this month the UN commission of inquiry for the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] reported [JURIST report] that IS is responsible for war crimes on a “massive scale” in Syria. Also in November Human Rights Watch reported that IS militants tortured and abused [JURIST report] Kurdish children in Syria. The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] expressed grave concerns [JURIST report] last month about escalating violence against civilians.