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Amendment Proposed to Ensure UK Prosecutes War Criminals

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TEHRAN, April 28 (ICANA) – The government's former reviewer of terrorism laws, Lord Carlile, is to table an amendment in addition to controversial changes in the country's universal jurisdiction law to ensure war criminals are prosecuted in Britain.
Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:30:44 PM
Amendment Proposed to Ensure UK Prosecutes War Criminals

During the last parliament, provisions were incorporated into Section 70 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to extend the universal jurisdiction for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

'By now, prosecutions should be commencing as a result of the enactment of Section 70, but they are not. The criticism that the United Kingdom remains a safe haven for war criminals, I am afraid, still sticks,' Carlile told the House of Lords.

Speaking at the second reading of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, the Liberal Democrat peer said that there had been 'little evidence' that the new provision was working at all.

'With this in mind, I, along with others, will in due course table an amendment aimed to ensure reporting and accountability of the work in relation to the universal jurisdiction,' he said.

'Ministers should bear the responsibility for the universal jurisdiction and that police forces should bear the responsibility for showing that it is working.'

The amendment is in addition to Clause 154, which has been attached to the police bill, requiring the intervention by the Director of Public Prosecution to approve the arrest of alleged war criminals visiting the UK before a warrant is issued, which Carlile said he welcomed.

But his Liberal Democrat colleague Baroness Tonge said that while she supported the promised amendment to deal with war criminals who shelter in Britain, she found it 'extraordinary' that he wanted to make it easier for visiting war criminals to escape.

Clause 154 was 'tampering with long-held rights of private individual citizens to apply for arrest warrants on potential war criminals planning to visit the United Kingdom,' Tonge said.

'I and many other people think that this will further erode this country's record on upholding human rights. Also, obtaining the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions will cause substantial delay; it will not be done over a weekend. It also puts at risk the independence of our judiciary,' she said.

The police bill is set to be scrutinized in its committee stage next month before its final reading in the House of Lords after passing through the House of Commons, where an attempt to remove the universal jurisdiction change failed last month.

After the failure, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn chided both of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and previous Labour government for giving pledges to Israel to change the law following the issuing of an arrest warrant against former foreign minister Tzipi Livni in December 2009.

Both front benches gave the game away by saying: 'Well, you have to take foreign policy considerations into consideration, don't you?' Corbyn told IRNA.

'If someone has committed a war crime, they have committed a war crime, whether they are from a so-called friendly nation or an enemy nation, they have committed a war crime,' he said.

Tonge also said the decision was political, pointing out that although the Director of Public Prosecutions may be called independent, he is under the supervision of the Attorney-General, who is a member of the Government.

'If a Government now or in future wanted to protect a foreign national against whom well founded allegations had been made, they could do so via the Attorney-General and his pressure on, and supervision of, the Director of Public Prosecutions,' she told fellow peers.

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