HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc561-2
30. Mr. Janner

To ask the Attorney-General what progress has been made on prosecutions under the War Crimes Act 1991. [28734]

The Attorney-General

Further to my previous answers to the House, seven cases have been closely examined by leading counsel and junior Treasury counsel, who have recommended certain further urgent inquiries. These are in hand. Decisions will be taken as soon as all relevant matters have been fully considered.

Mr. Janner

Can the Attorney-General confirm that, as one of the Sunday newspapers alleged, a committee has been set up that will recommend appropriate decisions, and will do so before the summer recess? In any event, will he tell the House how decisions will be announced? Will he confirm that the committee's recommendations will be made before the recess so that the House will be able to make such observations as may be proper, bearing in mind that a majority of the House is in favour of the Act but only, of course, if there is sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution?

The Attorney-General

The matter is one not for committees of any nature but for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who may or may not seek my consent to any prosecution. If she does, it is a matter for me. I have explained that these matters are being examined extremely carefully. Decisions will be taken as soon as all relevant aspects have been fully considered.

Mr. John Marshall

My right hon. and learned Friend said that these matters would be dealt with urgently. May I underline the need to get on with them? It was wrong that the individuals concerned escaped prosecution in the 1940s, and they should not be allowed to escape in the 1990s.

The Attorney-General

I am happy to make it clear to my hon. Friend again that these matters are being progressed with all proper speed and care. I emphasise care as well as speed. Fairness and care are essential in such matters, as they are in relation to any prosecution.