Clause 152 — Restriction on issue of arrest warrants in private prosecutions
Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley, Labour)
My hon. Friend hits the nail on the head as usual, and I shall develop that argument in a few minutes.
We still have obligations under the Geneva conventions —they are obligations, and not discretions or permissions —to bring before a court persons suspected of committing the gravest crimes against humanity when we are able to do so. This change in the law will undermine our commitment to those Geneva convention obligations.
Why, then, are the Government seeking to change the law? The Justice Secretary, yesterday, and the Foreign Secretary, last Thursday, set out clearly in replies to questions in the Chamber the reasons why the Government are seeking to do so. The first reason that they gave was that it is too easy to obtain an arrest warrant. They suggested that anyone could turn up on a frivolous pretext, spin a yarn to the court and walk away with an arrest warrant—put a penny in the slot and out comes a warrant! I cannot believe that that argument has carried any weight with anyone at all.