* With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. – Steven Weinberg
Free to walk our streets, the war criminals we cannot deport because of their human rights
Are these 300 people war criminals or not? If they are responsible for mass murder, what is wrong for them being handed back to their own country to be tried. Are we dictating the laws of other countries now?
Hundreds of war criminals are walking the streets of Britain with impunity, a shocking report reveals today.
Around 300 people suspected of war crimes or genocide have been referred to the immigration services or police for action, said the Aegis Trust.
But glaring legal loopholes mean they cannot be deported because sending them home to face a possible death penalty would breach their human rights.Â
The trust, an independent group working to eliminate genocide, said the suspects cannot be prosecuted here because only British residents can be arrested and charged under the Government’s war crimes legislation.
And the law only applies to crimes committed after 2001Â -Â despite many of the worst genocides taking place before this, including in Bosnia and Rwanda.
- Â Strange double standards here, don’t you think? Then why was Milosevic and Karadicz Â apprehended and Â tried in The Haague?
The report’s authors unearthed asylum and immigration case files relating to suspects living in the UK.
These included an alleged Zimbabwean torturer, an Iraqi torturer who worked for the Saddam Hussein regime, a member of the Sudanese militia and a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger assassination squad driver.
Also found was a member of the Sierra Leone ‘Mosquito’ rebel group notorious for murder, rape, looting, burning, sexual slavery and forced amputations.
Other immigration files list child soldiers from Sierra Leone, officers in Charles Taylor’s army in Liberia, a Somali warlord, a member of the Serb militia ‘Arkan’s Tigers’ and a rebel from Angola implicated in hostage-taking.
In April, four men accused of mass murder in the Rwandan genocide won their battle to stay free in Britain.
The four are wanted to stand trial for their part in the 1994 massacre in which 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. But the High Court ruled that there was ‘a real risk they would suffer a flagrant denial of justice’ if returned to Rwanda.
Nick Donovan, head of research for the Aegis Trust, said: ‘There are two ‘impunity gaps’ in UK law which prevent prosecution for international crimes.
‘Those suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and most war crimes cannot be prosecuted in the UK if they committed those acts before 2001.
‘And non-residents such as students, tourists or asylumseekers without residence status can’t be prosecuted even if those acts were committed after 2001.
‘This is not a hypothetical issue. It’s about individuals suspected of heinous crimes: individuals who this country needs to bring to justice if we do not want to remain a haven for war criminals.’
Proposals to close the loopholes have been tabled in Parliament by the Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Carlile. But ministers have only said they are prepare to debate changes.
The Aegis report came as ministers faced a separate attack over deportation.
In a report today, Parliamentary spending watchdogs warn the backlog of asylum cases is growing fast because efforts to deport foreign prisoners are swamping detention spaces.
The Public Accounts Committee said the backlog doubled to 8,700 last year.
This does not include hundreds of thousands of ‘legacy cases’, some of which have been stuck in the Home Office system for years.