HC Deb 18 July 1994 vol 247 cc14-5
30. Mr. Winnick

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the progress of beginning prosecution proceedings in the United Kingdom against those held responsible for Nazi war crimes.

The Attorney-General

The Metropolitan police war crimes unit is continuing to investigate about 28 cases and has submitted interim reports to the Crown Prosecution Service in 10 of those. Police inquiries are not yet complete and no decisions can be taken about prosecutions until they are.

Mr. Winnick

Is not there all the difference between what may happen in the heat of battle, as in the Falklands war in hand-to-hand fighting—although I do not condone anything improper that might have occurred, even then —and the systematic, cold-blooded murder of men, women and children, as was the case with the Nazi war crimes? What sort of message would go out to those committing such crimes, be it in Rwanda or Bosnia, if those who had committed the most terrible crimes against humanity were not brought to justice simply because of the delay of time? They should not have come to Britain in the first place, but if they have come to Britain and there is evidence against them, should not they be tried, regardless of time?

The Attorney-General

The House made its views on this matter clear when the War Crimes Bill came before it. That Bill has passed into law and the police are properly carrying out the investigations and will, in due course, make their report to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The matter will then be considered in accordance with the law.

Mr. Jacques Arnold

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that if there are allegations against anyone resident in this country who may have participated in heinous crimes in concentration camps on the continent during the last war, the public believe that those people should be investigated and prosecuted, if necessary?

The Attorney-General

The point that my hon. Friend is making tallies well with the investigations that are being carried out.

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