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Ongoing Projects

Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Female Violent Extremist Offenders in Europe

Several European countries have actively or on a case-by-case basis started to repatriate women and their children, resulting in specific challenges to the various actors managing them throughout the criminal justice chain. So far limited evidence-based analysis is available due to the small number of cases. However, with several hundred European women still present in the Kurdish administered camps in Northeastern Syria, this topic will also likely be staying on the political agenda for the coming years as countries are repatriating women from their camps on a case-by-case basis or as policy.

More broadly, there is a need to reflect on the prosecution, management and rehabilitation of female VEOs, and study in more details what gender-specific risks and needs they pose in the broader context of an increasing number of women involved in terrorist activities (of all forms). Consulted stakeholders have expressed the need for conducting deeper analysis and formulating recommendations for practice and policy.

The general objectives of this project, funded by the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, are two-fold. First, it is to inform practitioners and policy makers involved in prosecution, prison management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of returning female returnees and VEOs of existing approaches and identified needs or gaps in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Second, this project will formulate recommendations for a more evidence-based and rule-of-law compliant approach.  

Open source research coupled with semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders (policy makers and practitioners) will be used to gather in-depth insights on challenges at each stage of the journey through the criminal justice system, where appropriate, compare approaches in four countries, and formulate policy recommendations. The findings will be used to assist policy makers with developing a rule of law compliant criminal justice response, where applicable, and provide effective rehabilitation and reintegration efforts for female returnees and violent extremist offenders (VEOs).

ICCT will conduct at least six structured interviews per country, organised a closed-door workshop for practitioners, write a final report on research findings, then organise a live briefing to present these.