[JURIST] Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak [BBC profile] on Wednesday suggested to the country’s parliament that new laws are needed to strengthen existing legislation to combat terrorism. Razak expressed particular concern about citizens returning home to Malaysia with extremist ideology after fighting alongside Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder; CFR backgrounder] militants in conflict zones of Syria and Iraq. Citing the 39 citizens who have already joined the extremist group, Razak urged that the radicalism and extremism taught by IS cannot be allowed to spread. The proposed legislation includes provisions for the rehabilitation of militants who return home to Malaysia and express regret for joining IS. Claiming that legislation alone could not curb the spread of the Islamic State, Razak urged Malaysians to reject the extreme teachings of IS, and implored parents to guide their children away from the lessons of IS.
IS has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. Last week, The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] stated that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes [JURIST report] charges against IS jihadist fighters. 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.