‘Home, Sweet Home’: Managing Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Germany, The United Kingdom and Australia

In: International Community Law Review
Author: Kerstin Braun1
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  • 1 Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Justice, University of Southern Queensland
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Since 2011, the conflict in Syria and Iraq has seen unprecedented numbers of Westerners travelling to the region to support jihadist terror organisations, so-called Foreign Terrorist Fighters (‘FTFs’). However, since 2015, with Islamic State’s financial and territorial losses, the numbers of Western FTFs are dwindling and many are returning to their countries of origin. As a consequence, numerous countries are grappling with how to best manage potential security threats arising from returning FTFs. This article critically analyses legal and criminal justice strategies to address this phenomenon implemented in three Western countries from which a significant number of FTFs originate: Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia. It focuses on prosecution, prevention of re-entry and rehabilitation of returning FTFs. It suggests that a holistic approach focusing on punitive but also on de-radicalising and reintegrating measures is best suited to address the security risks FTFs pose long term.

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