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Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 1989

WAR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

December 20, 1989

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The British House of Commons has voted to recommend changing British law so Nazi war criminals living in Britain can be prosecuted. By a whopping vote of 348-123 which crossed political lines, members of Parliament made the recommendation to change the current law, under which war criminals cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed abroad at a time they were not British citizens.

The Conservative government in London must now decide whether to introduce legislation to put the recommendation into effect, but that is considered highly likely. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher voted for the measure, as did Neil Kinnock, leader of the opposition Labor Party.

An inquiry commissioned by the government in 1988 known as the Hetherington report concluded that there was enough evidence to prosecute four men for their reported involvement in the massacre of thousands of Jews and non-Jews.

Considering Britain's survival-intense involvement in World War II, when so many atrocities occurred, it is logical that the British should be able to prosecute people responsible. The United States should be able to do likewise.

As for the comments by some that it is cruel and unfair to prosecute people who are now quite old for crimes committed so long ago, bear in mind their victims never were given the chance to reach advanced age and did not know the meaning of fairness in the treatment they received. At least there would be due process in the handling of the suspects' cases.

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