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Crimes Against Humanity: Prosecutions

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations he has received on the prosecution of (a) genocide and (b) war crimes in UK courts. (298213)

We have received representations recently from a number of sources, including from non-governmental organisations, parliamentarians and members of the public, about genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We have introduced new measures in the Coroners and Justice Bill to strengthen the law on these categories of crimes. Firstly, the provisions amend the International Criminal Court Act 2001 so as to cover the offences of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to 1 January 1991 as far as the legal principles applicable to retrospection allow. Secondly, we are providing more certainty to the term “UK resident” in the 2001 Act by adding a list of specific categories of people who are to be treated as UK residents to the extent this would not otherwise be the case. These include those in custody and those in the UK applying for asylum (including failed asylum seekers). We have also included a non-exclusive list of factors that a court must have regard to in determining whether a person is a UK resident, including the purpose of being in the UK and family and other connections.