Change to universal jurisdiction law will benefit war criminals, says Simon Danczuk MP

Rochdale’s Labour MP Simon Danczuk has warned that a recent vote to change the law on universal jurisdiction will make the UK a safe haven for war criminals.

Mr Danczuk voted against the proposed new legislation introduced by the Liberal-Conservative Government last week, which would change the present system where district judges are able to issue warrants for alleged war criminals. The bill, which won with a large majority and now passes to the House of Lords, will make it more difficult to issue an arrest warrant against people guilty of serious crimes such as genocide and torture.

Commenting after the debate, Rochdale’s MP said it was clear the proposed legislation was being driven by the Israeli lobby after several prominent Israeli politicians had cancelled visits to Britain for fear of being arrested after a UN report accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza.

“I am angry that this Government appears to be making legislation because Israeli politicians are afraid of being issued with an arrest warrant in Britain,” he said. “Israel has consistently ignored UN resolutions and committed heinous crimes in Gaza including the bombing of residential areas and use of Palestinian families as human shields by soldiers. No Government should be turning a blind eye to this and we shouldn’t be making it easier for politicians to visit our shores without fear of the legal consequences of their actions.”

Simon finally commented: “Whilst 37 of us voted against the change it was disappointing to see that not one Liberal Democrat MP voted against even though most had promised, prior to the General Election, to oppose changes to universal jurisdiction.”