War Crimes Act 1991

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st October 1994.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South 12:00 am, 31st October 1994

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about the operation of the War Crimes Act 1991.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Attorney General (Law Officers)

Police investigations in seven cases have now reached the stage where they have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether or not to seek my consent to prosecute. Investigations continue in these and other cases.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

Will my right hon. and learned Friend assure me that those prosecutions will be brought speedily while the witnesses are still alive and that the war crimes unit will be retained until decisions are made in each of these cases?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Attorney General (Law Officers)

As my hon. Friend realises, these cases are extremely complex, but they are being pressed forward as fast as is reasonably possible. I shall certainly bear my hon. Friend's important points in mind.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West

Will the Attorney-General recognise that what the hon. Member for Hendon, South {Mr. Marshall) has said is right? The longer time goes on, the more difficult it becomes to prosecute people even if there is sufficient evidence of personal involvement in mass murder. What sort of time scale does the right hon. and learned Gentleman have in mind for these cases to come to him?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Attorney General (Law Officers)

Of course I recognise what the hon. and learned Gentleman says. Not only did these events happen a very long time ago but those involved are necessarily quite old—and that does require that the cases be pushed forward as fast as they properly can be. That is how they will be pushed forward.