Strengthening UK Prosecution of Suspected Genocidaires
In 2009, Aegis and the APPG worked together to close two loopholes in British law relating to the prosecution of genocide and war crimes. At the time, British law could prosecute those suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related crimes committed after 2001. This meant that crimes committed in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, in Rwanda in 1994 could not be brought to trial in the UK, even if they were resident in the country.
Chairs of the APPG John Bercow MP and Mary Creagh MP campaigned with the Aegis Trust, arguing that the United Kingdom should not become a safe haven for war criminals and genocidaires.
On 7th July 2009, the government announced that it was going to backdate jurisdiction to January 1991. The Secretary of State for Justice acknowledged the direct role played by the Genocide Prevention APPG in bringing about this change to the law.
On 26th October 2009, the campaign secured another victory when the second loophole was closed. Following concerted lobbying from the Aegis Trust, a coalition of peers and leading legal figures, the Government tabled a fresh amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill that closed the legal loophole that in the past allowed genocide and war crimes suspects to visit the UK or live here for years without fear of prosecution.
The loophole meant that UK legislation regarding genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity applied only to people who were legally defined as resident in the UK. This meant that those residing in Britain, or persons refused asylum but cannot be returned home were exempt from prosecution.
Today, thanks to the Government amendment, UK legislation for the prosecution of genocide-related crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity covers all people present in Britain.
The APPG continues to work to ensure that the British Government and its agencies uphold their responsibility to prosecute suspected war criminals and genocidaires. For more information about the APPG, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org