universal jurisdiction


War crimes arrest warrant law to change

7 December 2010 by


Tzipi Livni

Updated | A new bill which seeks to reform the powers of the police also seeks to make it harder to issue private arrest warrants for universal jurisdiction offences, such as war crimes, torture and hostage taking,

The controversial change would mean that they can only be issued where there is a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution (see our previous post).

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has now started its passage through Parliament, following its introduction to the House of Commons on 30 November 2010.


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Strong reaction to universal jurisdiction rule change

29 July 2010 by

He can come now

The proposed change to the rules for bringing on who can apply for international war crimes arrest warrants has predictably generated some strong reactions

The changes will make it necessary to get the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be granted. The Ministry of Justice say they are changing the rules in order to prevent arrests happening after the presentation of “flimsy” evidence. Those who fear arrest under the current system range from Israeli ministers to the Pope.

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Human rights universal jurisdiction arrest law to change [updated]

23 July 2010 by

Tsipi Livni - she can come back now

The Ministry of Justice is proposing to change the rules on who can apply for international arrest warrants for suspected war crimes. The changes will make it necessary to get the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be granted.

The present system means that the threshold for an arrest for war crimes is low, and as such visiting ex-ministers can be arrested if only limited (or “flimsy” as the MoJ puts it) proof of the alleged crime is presented to a magistrate. The highest profile cases have been those involving ex-ministers from Israel, and in particular Tsipi Livni. As a result of the threat of arrest warrants, Israeli ex-ministers have largely stayed away from the UK.

As the MoJ statement says, war crimes under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, and a small number of other grave offences, are subject to universal jurisdiction. This enables prosecution to take place here even though the offence was committed outside the United Kingdom, and irrespective of nationality.

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