Indonesia’s response to returning foreign fighters: network affiliation as basis for risk assessment

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Council has mandated member-states pursue criminal prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), the state’s capacity has been limited and there has been public demand to prioritise security over reintegration. The Indonesian public remains divided in terms of facilitating the returnees’ reintegration and rejecting their return for the sake of public security, the government’s response showed an effort to comply with international norms in creating a guided process of rehabilitation and reintegration alongside criminal prosecution of returning foreign fighters. This study uses a dataset of Indonesia’s returning FTFs who joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) between 2015 and 2020 and were prosecuted on their return. This study finds that terrorist network affiliation has been used in the criminal prosecution of returning foreign fighters to determine the degree of risk that they carried. The use of network affiliation is due to the lack of capacity on the state to collect and present evidence of foreign fighting in court. The Indonesian case study showcases the nature of the problem of responding to foreign fighters when the state has limited resources and capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-134
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2022


  • criminal prosecution
  • deportee
  • foreign terrorist fighter
  • rehabilitation
  • reintegration
  • returnee
  • Word


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