The Zionist Federation welcomes the statement by the Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke, that it is his intention to amend the legislation relating to war crimes.
We note he has tabled a written statement in the House of Commons confirming that UK War Crimes legislation will be amended at “the first opportunity” in order to rectify the anomaly that has enabled campaign groups to obtain arrest warrants against visiting Israelis on the basis of unfounded War Crimes charges. We congratulate him and the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon. William Hague, together with the Coalition Government, for taking this early opportunity to honour their commitment to rectify this situation which has damaged international relationships and caused considerable embarrassment.
We strongly support the view it is important to retain legislation that will safeguard against proven war criminals being allowed to enter the UK, but agree with the proposal that the matter of issuing arrest warrants should rest solely in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions and is not open to abuse due to frivolous requests for warrants being presented to inexperienced magistrates by manipulating individuals.
We concur with the conclusion of the Justice Minister that the abuse of the current legislation has hindered the government’s ability to help in conflict resolution and welcome the proposed changes, which can only be beneficial to the role the United Kingdom can play in advancing the Middle East peace process.
We look forward to the proposed amendment being put before Parliament and trust it will receive widespread support.
Joy Wolfe MBE
ZF Co President