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Volume 715: debated on Monday 7 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Lord Brett on 23 November (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 137), what steps they are taking to bring charges of genocide against the alleged perpetrators of Rwandan genocide at Murambi College of Technology who have been resident in the United Kingdom; when they will commence the relevant provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 permitting such charges to be brought; and what steps they are taking to ensure that the alleged perpetrators do not evade justice. [HL256]

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Coroners and Justice Bill that would allow for prosecution in the UK for cases of genocide perpetrated overseas has been enacted and is scheduled to come in to force on 1 February 2010.

Whilst I am unable to go into the details of individual cases, I can confirm that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Counter Terrorism Division is responsible for national prosecutions of war crimes and crimes against humanity and the Crimes against Humanity Unit of the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has the national mandate to investigate these types of crime. When the evidence is passed to the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, it is reviewed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. If there is sufficient evidence of a war crime or crime against humanity, it is highly likely that a prosecution would meet the public interest test. In anticipation of retrospective legislation introduced in the Coroners and Justice Bill, the MPS continues to consult with the Crown Prosecution Service and partnership agencies in respect of any alleged perpetrator that could potentially be prosecuted under this new legislation.