Martin Bright

The Foreign Office responds

The Foreign Office responds
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I have just received some answers from the Foreign Office about the Bangladesh war crimes tribunal. I asked if William Hague had sent a letter to his counterpart in Bangladesh saying that there were no war criminals from the 1971 independence war in Britain.

A spokesman said that while they did not comment on leaked documents, the following points could be made with reference to the war crimes trials currently taking place in Bangladesh:

1) The UK wants to see all war criminals brought to justice. It is essential that all war crimes’ tribunals are held to internationally accepted standards and that anyone accused of a war crime is given a fair trial, including the right to conduct a proper defence and be treated in accordance with appropriate human rights’ standards.  

2) The UK operates a policy of no safe haven for individuals suspected of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.  Where possible, we would use existing powers to prevent such individuals travelling to or settling in the UK.  

3) We are not aware of any alleged war criminals living in UK. If new evidence is brought to our attention, both the UK courts and the Home Secretary will examine each case on its merits.

4) We understand the desire of the government to hold to account those who may be guilty of war crimes during the war of independence. We have not had any approaches for assistance from the Bangladeshi government, nor can we comment on individual cases or possible visa restrictions.

5) The Foreign Secretary has discussed war crimes with his counterpart in Bangladesh and our support for the principle of bringing war criminals to justice. However, the UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and we would work actively against any death sentence imposed by a tribunal.

The key answer here is number three. The Foreign Office is not aware of any alleged war criminal from Bangladesh living in the UK. I wonder if anyone out there can help out here.