The Citizenship Hook: Obligations to British and French Foreign Fighters Under the European Convention on Human Rights

Foreign Fighters

The rise of ISIS was characterized by unprecedented numbers of Western citizens traveling across the globe to fight for the “caliphate.” Their capture created a humanitarian crisis in the region: what to do with those citizens who were captured by the Iraqi and Syrian governments? European governments, the UK and France in particular, have been less than enthusiastic about repatriating their citizens to face trial at home.

Nicole Molinaro examines the situation of British and French nationals who are currently facing trial or have already been convicted as ISIS foreign fighters in Iraqi courts. She discusses domestic legal and policy regimes established by the UK and France to deal with nationals accused of engaging in terrorism, the ECHR’s substantive protections and whether they are violated, the extraterritorial scope of the ECHR, and proposes an additional basis for European countries expanding extraterritorial jurisdiction: Citizenship.

Molinaro ultimately concludes that the ECHR has jurisdiction over the individuals and that the UK and France violate articles 2 and 3 by refusing to take custody of their citizen foreign fighters.

By Nicole Molinaro

Nicole E. Molinaro is a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center, Class of 2021, and the Student Editor-in-Chief of the JOURNAL OF NATIONAL SECURITY LAW AND POLICY.

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