We join our friends at The Palestine Solidarity Campaign in issuing this message to all our friends and supporters to enlist their energies to stop the attempts by the UK Government to introduce delaying tactics which will ensure that suspected war criminals visiting this country and allowing them to parade themselves freely without fear of being dragged and paraded into a British court to face charges for war crimes committed elsewhere.
It must be clear to all that the recent changes being proposed (and most likely will implemented) have been introduced ONLY as a result of the Israeli government pressure on Her Majesty’s Government when Israeli officials (implicated in the Gaza massacres) had a recent near miss of being arrested when attempting to land on British soil.
With the proposed changes to the Universal Jurisdiction laws, war criminals would be freely admitted to the UK and any attempt at prosecuting them could even be ‘vetoed’. Please take action NOW.
URGENT: War criminals not welcome – 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 at: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
For more information: Read the PSC briefing on why we should oppose changes to the law.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Antoine Raffoul is a Palestinian architect living and practising in London. He was born in Nazareth and was expelled with his whole family by the Zionist underground when they entered Haifa in April 1948. The family settled in Tripoli Lebanon. In 1968, Antoine received his university degree in Architecture in the United States. After a working period of 3 years in New York City, he moved to London in 1971. He is the Founder and Co-ordinator of 1948: Lest.We.Forget, a non-partisan and mutli-professional group campaigning for truth about Palestine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.