December 14, 2010

Clause 151

Another one of those infamous clauses tucked away in a large bill going through the UK parliament.  The bill is mostly about the bill, ie the police and its full title is the police and social responsibility bill but clause 151 is included so that Israeli war criminals can visit the UK without fear of arrest for war crimes.  Here's the Morning Star from a couple of days ago:
Clause 151 would give the Director of Public Prosecutions a veto over whether an arrest warrant could be issued for war crime suspects.
This would essentially allow the government of the day a political veto over what is a legal question.
War crimes are closely defined under international law and all legal administrations have a responsibility to apply the law strictly and impartially.
Yet Israel believes that different rules should apply to itself or that conduct which would be a war crime in any other circumstance should not be viewed as such when committed by the zionist state.
And the British political Establishment supports Tel Aviv on this issue, which is why David Cameron and Gordon Brown undertook to propose this measure after former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to London to dodge a war crimes arrest warrant.
The Israelis were furious because, in common with the European Union and the US, they believe that war crimes are committed only by Africans or by countries at odds with the western allies.
Tel Aviv complained of being "singled out" for special treatment. The opposite is the case.
The demand to arrest Livni for the well-documented crimes carried out by Israeli forces in their merciless assault on Gaza was a bid to ensure that Israel is bound by the same international law as other states.
Yesterday The Guardian published a letter to show that justice still has support even in the UK parliament:
We are joining the chorus of voices against government proposals (contained in the police reform and social responsibility bill) to give the director of public prosecutions a power of veto over arrest warrants for war crimes suspects who are visiting the UK. These warrants are issued very rarely by extremely senior district judges in Westminster, and only in response to submissions from victims accompanied by substantial evidence against the suspect. Giving a power of veto to the DPP would risk: political interference by ministers in the arrest of war crimes suspects; delaying proceedings, allowing suspects to escape justice; and would constitute a gross interference with the rights of the victim and the responsibilities of the judiciary.
Ministers and diplomats are already protected by immunity when carrying out their public duties, but this change in the law would risk creating a culture of impunity in the minds of those politicians and military leaders who already treat international law with cavalier disregard. We call on parliamentarians in both houses and of all parties to support international law and reject these proposals.
Richard Burden MP 
Jeremy Corbyn MP  
Alex Cunningham MP
Mark Durkan MP
Jonathan Edwards MP
Clive Efford MP
Paul Flynn MP
Mike Hancock MP
Cathy Jamieson MP
Gerald Kaufman MP
Ian Lavery MP
Andy Love MP 
Caroline Lucas MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
John Mcdonnell MP
George Mudie MP
Ian Murray MP
Sandra Osborne MP
Yasmin Qureshi MP
Joan Ruddock MP
Bob Russell MP
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Mike Wood MP
Billy Hayes, CWU
Paul Kenny, GMB
Chris Kitchen, NUM
Kevin Courtney, NUT
Hugh Lanning, PCS
Bob Crow, RMT
Betty Hunter, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
John Austin
Victoria Brittain
Caryl Churchill
Jocelyn Hurndall
Dan Judelson
Bruce Kent
Ken Loach
Kika Markham
Prof Karma Nabulsi
David Polden
Prof Hilary Rose
Prof Steven Rose
Alexei Sayle
Clare Short
Keith Sonnet
Ahdaf Soueif
Dr Benjamin Zephaniah 
Revd Canon Garth Hewitt, Amos TrustAbe Hayeem, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
Len Aldis, Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society
Chris Doyle, CAABU
Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Ismail Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa
Brenda Heard, Friends of Lebanon, London
Liz Davies, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Human Rights Legal Aid Fund
Pat Price-Tomes, ICAHD UK
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) London
George Farebrother, Institute for Law Accountability and Peace
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Martin Linton, Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East
John McHugo, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine
Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor (Memo)
Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi
Frank Barat, Russell Tribunal UK
Dr Alan Mackinnon, chair, Scottish CND
Hugh Humphries, Scottish Friends of Palestine
Michael Marten, Scottish Palestinian Forum
Lindsey German, Stop the War, Tahrir Swift, Women Solidarity for Independent and Unified Iraq
John Hilary, War on Want
Sarah Lasenby, NOW Network of Oxford Women for Justice and Peace
Marguerite Finn, Norwich Branch Of Women's International League Of Peace And Freedom (Wilpf)
Nigel Day, Oxford Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) ,
I wonder how LibDems are going to vote on this.

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