Danish Kurds fighting IS in Iraq – The Post

Danish Kurds fighting IS in Iraq

The issue presents a conundrum for the justice system

September 15th, 2014 1:52 pm| by admin

At least ten Kurds with Danish citizenship have travelled to northern Iraq to join the ranks of the Kurdish Peshmerga in its ongoing struggle against the jihadist organisation Islamic State (IS), according to Politiken newspaper.

The Danish defence intelligence service, Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste, is concerned the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PPK) – which is on EU and US terror lists – is playing a central role in the Kurdish battle against IS.

“Individuals who have allowed themselves to be trained by such groups risk being adjudged to have received terror training,” the Justice Ministry wrote in an earlier report.

READ MORE: Head of humanitarian organisation arrested for IS support

Government considering stripping citizenships
But Frederik Harhoff, a legal expert and former international tribunal judge, argues that the Kurdish Danes aren’t breaking the law by taking up arms with their Kurdish brethren in northern Iraq, unless they do so by joining up with the PPK.

“As long as they stick to conventions and don’t commit war crimes, it’s not punishable,” Harhoff told Politiken. “The Peshmerga are not on a terror list, so volunteers won’t be punished for fighting with them.”

“Where PKK is concerned, it’s a little unclear. You would have to look at individual cases and then judge who has fought for whom.”

The news comes just days after the Danish government revealed it was considering taking away the citizenship of Danish nationals travelling to join the ranks of IS.