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Repatriation of jihadists: European Court of Human Rights to consider a complaint against France

Grandparents are requesting the repatriation of two children aged four and five, detained in a camp in Syrian Kurdistan in conditions deemed deplorable.

It is a first: the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has accepted to examine a request filed against France for its refusal to repatriate a family of jihadists, announced on Monday the judicial institution of the Council of Europe.

Two grandparents had seized the ECHR in early May. France refuses to repatriate their daughter born in 1991 and left for Syria in 2014, where she had two children aged 5 and almost 4 years. Wounded in the battle of Baghouz, the last Daesh retreat in Syria, they are now held in the Al-Hol camp in Syrian Kurdistan. Their state of health "is deplorable", according to the applicants.

No decision before six months

First steps in the procedure, the ECHR published on Monday a statement of the facts of this request, as well as a list of questions addressed to the parties, who have several weeks to respond.

It is only afterwards that the ECHR will judge this request and decide whether or not to condemn France. The decision is not to wait until "at least six months", said the Court.

"In particular, the ECHR will have to determine whether the fate of French people detained abroad is indeed within the jurisdiction of France (and therefore can be imputed to it)", noted on Twitter the specialist in European law Nicolas Hervieu.

"I am delighted that the ECHR has accepted to examine this request for the first time. But I am very worried about the fate of the children and their mothers, who live in tents when it is -10 ° C in the camps ", reacted Marie Dosé, lawyer for children and mothers detained in Syria.

In April 2019, the Council of State had rejected several appeals from French nationals retained in Syria claiming their repatriation to France, believing that this question was a matter for French diplomacy and therefore exceeded its competence.
No other Council of Europe country has yet received such a request.

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