AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – An alleged Dutch-born Islamic State militant went on trial within the Netherlands on Monday for conflict crimes in Iraq and Syria, together with breaches of the Geneva Conventions, after posing with a crucified physique and sharing photographs of lifeless victims on-line.
Dutch Judges Rose Perquin, Mariette Renckens (presiding) and Jantien Holleman and clerks Ekkart (first title unavailable) and Milica Sepmeijer sit within the courtroom prior the Netherlands’ first conflict crimes trial for alleged atrocities in Syria dedicated by two Dutch nationals who fought with ISIS, within the courthouse in Schiphol, Netherlands July eight, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
It’s the first trial within the Netherlands coping with conflict crimes by an alleged Islamic State militant.
There isn’t any worldwide tribunal to prosecute widespread atrocities throughout Syria’s civil conflict which started on 2011, however prosecutors in a number of European international locations have placed on trial nationals who joined militant teams within the Center East.
Based on European police company Europol, some 5,000 Europeans — most from Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands — went to struggle in Syria and Iraq, of whom some 1,500 have returned.
Oussama Achraf Akhlafa, 24, faces allegations of violating worldwide legislation, after allegedly becoming a member of IS militants in Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria, between 2014 and 2016.
He’s being tried beneath so-called common jurisdiction, which permits conflict crimes to be prosecuted no matter the place they had been dedicated.
Akhlafa is charged with breaking worldwide legislation on the principles of armed battle by violating the non-public dignity of conflict victims, in addition to membership in a terrorist group.
Prosecutors mentioned Akhlafa posed subsequent to the crucified physique of a person on a wood cross and distributed footage of an IS militant holding the top of a lifeless Kurdish fighter and the physique of a lifeless lady with a foot on her.
In an announcement, Akhlafa mentioned he joined IS after changing into homeless within the Netherlands, however by no means damage anybody.
“If I didn’t get within the picture I’d be seen as disloyal” by IS, he advised the courtroom. “I posed within the picture. I take all accountability for that. I’m sorry and it was not my intent to humiliate this man.”
“I perceive it creates a picture, however madame, I didn’t kill anybody … IS wouldn’t even give me a weapon.”
The decide learn out witness testimony and quotes from on-line chats with the defendant during which he bragged about killings and mentioned he was a sniper. “Sniping is the funnest factor there’s, however it’s extremely harmful,” the decide quoted him as writing.
The defendant mentioned his comment was supposed to impress ladies.
A second defendant, 24-year-old Reda Nidalha, additionally went on trial on Monday, accused of membership in a terrorist group and recruiting radical jihadists through Fb.
Dutch-born Nidalha, who sat in a black t-shirt, which a shaved head and thick beard, was questioned by judges for hours on the opening of hearings on Monday.
He denied allegations of recruiting, saying he had been joking when he chatted on Fb about mates becoming a member of him in Raqqa, the self-declared capital of Islamic State’s “caliphate”.
“In 2014, I went to Syria to assist folks, ladies and kids,” he advised a panel of judges. “I didn’t be a part of to struggle. I supplied primary medical help.”
Nidalha mentioned he couldn’t clarify how his household obtained pictures of him carrying military fatigues and posing with weapons.
In Syria, he mentioned he obtained first support coaching, not weapons coaching, after which helped emergency medical groups amassing the lifeless and wounded from the battlefield.
Nidalha denied accusations of making an attempt to recruit 4 folks for Islamic State, saying the Facebooks chats had been “not critical.”
Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, Enhancing by William Maclean