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War criminals living in UK 'with impunity'
06-16-2009, 08:10 AM,
War criminals living in UK 'with impunity'
Quote:The individuals allegedly committed atrocities abroad before fleeing to the UK, with many claiming asylum, but cannot now be returned home or extradited because of their human rights.

But equally they cannot be made to stand trial here because of the country's laws on prosecuting suspected foreign war criminals who are not formally resident here.

The suspects include an alleged Iraqi torturer from Saddam Hussein's regime, a suspected Afghan warlord, and an alleged driver for a Tamil Tiger assassination hit squad.

They also include four men accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide who won a High Court battle against extradition in April.

Two judges ruled there was "a real risk they would suffer a flagrant denial of justice" if returned to the central African country for trial.

Vincent Bajinya, who changed his name to Brown, Celestin Ugirashebuja, Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Charles Munyaneza have been in custody since Dec 2006. They must be freed, judges ruled.

A report by the Aegis Trust, found a total of 138 suspects have been recommended for immigration action, since 2004 and 22 cases have been referred to the police, although it is not clear how many are in the country.

The report, Suspected War Criminals and Genocidaires in the UK: Proposals to Strengthen our Laws, highlights two loopholes that allow suspects to stay.

Anyone suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and most war crimes cannot be prosecuted in the UK if the acts were committed before 2001. Similarly, someone who is not a resident of the UK cannot be prosecuted here for such acts even if they happened after 2001.

The second barrier is many cannot be returned home if they face the risk of an unfair trial or torture.

Nick Donovan, head of campaigns for the Aegis Trust and report author, said: "There are two 'impunity gaps' in UK law which preventing prosecution for international crimes.

"This report shows that this not a hypothetical issue. It's about individuals suspected of the most heinous crimes anyone can commit; individuals that this country needs to bring to justice if we do not want to remain a safe haven for war criminals."
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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