The People's Defense Court, established in early 2014, specialized in trial of those who committed war crimes against the people of northeastern Syria. It decided on more than 8,000 cases for the Syrian mercenaries, in Al-Jazeera, Euphrates and Afrin, but Afrin Court was suspended after the Turkish occupation attacks on it January 20, 2018.
The People's Defense Court derived its legitimacy from the Legislative Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration in Al Jazeera region. It decides on committed crimes and violation against people in northeastern Syria, under anti-terrorism act, that was issued on the basis of the provisions of the social contract on and the proposal of the Executive Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration in the Al Jazeera Region under number /244/ on 31/7/2014. And it was approved by the Legislative Council in its 25th session, on 27 September 2014.
The prisons of the Autonomous Administration of the North and East of Syria contains thousands of extremists and ISIS mercenaries during the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces campaigns against the extremist groups.
The co-head of the legal preparatory committee for prosecuting ISIS, and member of the Social Justice Council, Khaled Barjas Ali, explained that the People's Defense Court began prosecuting mercenaries and extremists in early 2014, it also decided on the Syrian extremists cases who committed war crimes against the people of north and east Syria.
Ali noted that the People's Defense Court works on prosecuting the extremists on a daily basis. It has recently focused on prosecuting the Syrian ISIS mercenaries, saying: "The People's Defense Court has considered in more than 8,000 lawsuits. The court is considering 600 more now." 8,000 mercenaries were sentenced.
Ali pointed out that the public prosecutor's office in northeastern Syria receives records and related "terrorists" from private security agencies, and organizes special records against them according to their statements and sayings, in addition to collecting evidence and everything related to the crimes they committed and the transferring them to the People's Defense Court.
Barjas noted that after handing down the verdict, the suspect could appeal to the Appeal Court in Qamishlo.
On the nature tried people, Ali explained that they are from various "terrorist" organizations such as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and ISIS mercenaries, i.e. after the liberation of the last strongholds of ISIS mercenaries geographically in Syria, on March 23, 2019, he said, "Most of the charges against them are "belonging to the terrorist organizations and financing and supporting them, carrying out bombings and killing civilians in northeastern Syria."
The Turkish attack significantly affected the court work
, he said: "The Turkish attack has greatly affected the investigating with the terrorist group in the prisons, transferring the mercenaries from one prison to another, and suspending the judicial work for a long time, especially since the courts were vulnerable to attacks in Turkey. The attack has not only affected the work of the courts, but also influenced the commission's work to follow up on the foreign ISIS mercenaries' court."
Ali warned of the potential dangers as the Turkish occupation army continues to attack northeastern Syria, saying: "One of the most important risks is that mercenaries escape from prisons and camps in the first place, trying and interrogating them in the second place."
Foreign ISIS mercenaries trial will begin within months; The co-head of the legal committee preparing to prosecute ISIS, confirmed: "We have had a lot of meetings with the coalition countries and the related organizations. we explained the situation, and our demands for an international tribunal of an international nature, they understood the situation, and they showed "They are ready to help us with some things. So far nothing has been achieved on the ground. our meetings are continuing."
Ali revealed that there is communication between the Council of the Social Justice and some European countries in the process of prosecuting foreign ISIS mercenaries, and said: "A British diplomatic delegation promised to hold a meeting with the Social Justice Council on this point."
In the absence of an international tribunal, Ali said, "We will start prosecuting foreign mercenaries within three months, some countries have offered us assistance, such as the Netherlands and Sweden, and we have asked them to recognize our decisions and address the situation of those whose sentences are terminated, and what will their fate be? Where are they going to go after they get out of prison? How are we to deal with them?
Ali said they are willing to coordinate with countries on sending lawyers to defend their nationality mercenaries, saying: "Even if they do not send lawyers, they can send observers to follow up the courts."
"We have a lot of difficulties, including the lack of response from the countries to our requirements, as we initially called for a joint committee to identify the problems facing the ISIS courts, especially after the liberation of Baguz, but there was no response, and topics related to the infrastructure of the courts under "The huge numbers of detainees, logistical problems related to prisons," he said, adding that they have plans to rehabilitate mercenaries in prisons, but the international community is not cooperating adequately with this file."