On Monday Iraqi President Barham Saleh said that 13 French Islamic State group fighters who were transferred to Iraq last week will be tried on Iraqi soil.
“They are accused of having commanded operations against Iraqis and Iraqi installations in Iraq, and they will be tried according to Iraqi law,” Saleh told a press conference in Paris with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. “We are acting within the confines of international law on this matter.”
France has long maintained that any of its nationals caught in Syria or Iraq should be tried locally, a stance that critics say could leave them facing the death penalty, which is outlawed in France.
Macron reiterated this position Monday, saying that “it is up to the authorities of these countries to decide, sovereignly, if they will be tried there”.
But he added: “These people are entitled to benefit from our consular protection, and our diplomatic service will be mobilised.”
Macron told the press conference that he would soon be visiting Iraq, where France will take part in reconstruction efforts aimed at building a lasting peace.
“The old friendship [between France and Iraq] has served as a barrier against terrorism; we must now nourish it with concrete projects to build long-lasting peace together,” Macron said.
“That will be my message when I visit Iraq in a few months.”
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