Sunday, October 02, 2011

UK rewrites war crimes law at Israel’s request

Richard Irvine, The Electronic Intifada,1 October 2011
 
The UK has changed its laws to shield Israeli war crimes suspects from prosecution.
 
Legal mechanisms developed after the end of the Second World War to more easily prosecute war criminals are now being taken off the books to preserve Israeli impunity from accountability.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes an outraged international community demanded justice — a demand that resulted in the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the introduction of the new legal concept of universal jurisdiction. Justice, it seemed, would be impartial and hiding places for criminals scarce.

Universal jurisdiction is a simple concept. Deriving its authority from Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, it places an obligation upon all states “to respect and ensure respect” for the laws of war, effectively requiring all states to prosecute suspected war criminals regardless of where the crimes were committed.

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