News Local Justice Minister raises issue of radicalised returning foreign fighters during EU council

Justice Minister raises issue of radicalised returning foreign fighters during EU council

The question of possible radicalized returning foreign fighters, arriving through the migratory routes to Cyprus, as well as the use of the EU services databases to address this risk, was raised by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Cyprus Ionas Nicolaou, during the Justice and Home Affairs Council, held today in Brussels.

The Minister, in his statements to the Brussels Press and Information Office, said: “by reviewing the legislative, other measures that have been promoted by the Commission over the last 4-5 years and have been applied to counter terrorism – which is the most important issue for the Member States during these sessions – it was decided to pursue the full implementation and evaluation of these measures in order to make them more effective and a special reference was made to the high numbers of returning fighters from the conflict zones and the measures to be taken to assess their hazard “.

He stressed that “as Cyprus I briefed our fellow Ministers on the migratory flows that we have received lately and especially that the overwhelming majority of people arriving lately from Syria are males with most of them being between the ages of 23- 35 years of age, which puts them at a high risk level. ”

He then added that “as a matter of fact, I stressed the need to upgrade the possibilities of exploiting the available safety information so that an assessment can be carried out to determine the risk of these persons and, by extension, how to handle them, both for our own security and for dealing with issues of radicalization. ”

“During the debate, all the M-S agreed on the need to use the tools offered by Europol, in particular IRMA platforms, to effectively investigate all these cases,” he said.

“In addition, an agreement has now been reached on the obligation for electronic communications providers to facilitate the collection of electronic evidence from other Member States so that prosecuting authorities can use them for the purposes of investigating and fighting crime”, said Jonas Nicolaou and added: “this is a very important tool that effectively facilitates the investigation of crimes such as cybercrime, resulting in child pornography, fraud and other crimes within a cross-border framework.”

In conclusion, he also stressed the need  “for the EU to open negotiations with the US to reach an agreement on cross-border access to electronic evidence, since the US is the country in which most of the largest companies web services.”

(Cyprus News Agency)

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