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04/27/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – ISIS’s territorial defeat in Syria last month is considered a significant step in the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, as the Islamic extremists are now considered an insurgent group. Their insurgent tactics are increasingly on display in Iraq, which is also struggling with issues relating to transitional justice for the victims of the militants’ genocide.

This week, the militants stormed Madfa village, forcing residents to flee. The village is Muslim although it is located in Iraq’s Nineveh Province, a governorate home to most of Iraq’s Christians. The village is located far from the Christian areas, as it is located near the Syrian border. Other areas of Iraq have also reported increased ISIS activity. Mosul, which is located just kilometers away from Iraq’s largest Christian city, has reported scaled up attacks by ISIS.

Meanwhile, this week Iraq has issued the first publicly known death sentence to four alleged ISIS terrorists recently repatriated from Syria. Iraq’s terrorism courts are reportedly handling nearly 900 cases this month of Iraqis accused of joining ISIS, many of whom are repatriated from Syria. While Iraq is one of the first countries actively repatriating its citizens from Syria who allegedly joined ISIS, they are also facing heavy criticism about the process.

Rights groups say that Iraq is sentencing these members so quickly, sometimes within hours of the first hearing, that it is impossible to have a fair case against defendants. A mere accusation, without any evidence to substantiate the claim, can lead to a conviction of ISIS involvement. While it is important to hold ISIS members accountable for their genocide, there is concern that a lack of a just process will ultimately provide fodder for new terrorist recruitment.

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