Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim said on Thursday that Iraq’s judiciary is committed to prosecuting Iraqi terrorists and foreigners who committed crimes in the country.
However, he said Baghdad is not prepared to put foreign militants who fought with ISIS in Syria on trial for crimes committed against non-Iraqis.
“We take responsibility for our own citizens, their wives and children,” the minister said in a television interview with the Dutch Media Network and the NRC newspaper.
“European countries such as the Netherlands should take responsibility for their own nationals. That is what we advise these countries,” Hakim explained.
He also pointed out that Iraq is not allowed to take to trial people for offenses committed in countries other than Iraq.
Several European countries including France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway have been working on having their nationals, convinced on terror charges, put to trial in Iraq without taking them back into Europe.
However, Hakim said: "Iraqi justice does not allow this.”
The minister stressed the importance of continuing international efforts in fighting terrorism, cutting off its funding, holding terrorists accountable for their crimes, and reaffirming Iraq’s keenness to bring to justice victims of terrorism.
Hakim said the Iraqi government values the relationship with Netherlands pointing out that the main directions of Iraq’s foreign policy aims to build the best relations with the countries of the world.
Hakim was in the Netherlands for two days of talks on Dutch-Iraq relations. The minister’s comments came a few days after US President Donald Trump announced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had died as a result of a US raid in northern Syria.
Last summer, Baghdad sentenced 12 French militants to death. France opposes the death penalty, but, Baghdad refused to commute the death sentences.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces said Thursday they arrested three terrorists near Mosul.