Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 1 December 2010
For background see also Universal Jurisdiction – letter in the Guardian, 29 July 2010
Oppose changes to universal jurisdiction
The recently published Police Reform Bill includes proposals which, if passed, will make it much more difficult to obtain an arrest warrant for anyone accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Currently, for a magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, serious evidence must be presented against the person concerned. The proposed change adds a political dimension to a legal decision and introduces a source of delay when urgent action may be required to stop a suspect escaping justice. Britain has a duty to seek out and prosecute those responsible for war crimes.
PSC and other NGO’s are calling for MPs to vote against these proposed changes. The current law fully complies with the Geneva convention and the proposed changed will allow politicians to interfere with requests to issue arrest warrants for war criminals.
If passed the new legislations would allow the DPP, who is appointed and “superintended” by a government minister, the Attorney General, would have a veto over whether a suspected war criminal to be arrested, no matter how clear the evidence. And the DPP could find themselves under immense pressure from their boss, the Attorney General, to refuse an arrest warrant application if it was for someone from what the government considered an ‘ally’ country.
The situation is now critical. We are asking everyone to contact their MPs and insist that they vote against these proposals.
Even if you have already emailed your MP on this issue previously, it is important that you take 2 minutes to send them a new message, asking them to vote against the formally proposed changes. PSC have set up an easy to use e-tool to allow you to send a model letter to your MP.
Follow up your email by arranging a meeting with your MP at their next surgery. You can find your MP’s contact details here.
For more information: Read the PSC briefing on why we should oppose changes to the law.