BRUSSELS – Decision on IS returnees

Belgium will not appeal against a national court ruling on making it possible for several Belgian IS fighters’ children to return from Syria, foreign affairs minister Philippe Goffin (MR) told the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The children are currently staying in the Al-Hol refugee camp, together with their mothers, who, according to the judge, have no right to consular assistance or documents.

As Belgium refuses to recover adult IS fighters, the biggest obstacle will be to get parental consent to let the children leave without them.

Although the government ‘has usually the habit’ of appealing in these kinds of cases, this time it looks for options on how to meet the requirements, justice minister Koen Geens (CD&V) said after the ruling. 

The court hearing also imposed a penalty on the Belgian state of 5,000 per day of delay and per child, starting if the sentence has not been executed six weeks after its issue, giving Belgium until early February.

(Alexandra Brzozowski |

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