Legislative Scrutiny: The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill Contents

Annex: Potential amendments

Remove the presumption against prosecution:

Omit: Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

1)This amendment removes the “presumption” against prosecution (clauses 1–7) as it could lead to impunity, violate the right to a remedy for genuine victims, and undermine the UK’s international obligations to prosecute international crimes.

Amend the presumption against prosecution so that it only applies after 10 years

In clause 1(4), omit “5” and insert “10”.

In clause 1(5), omit “5” and insert “10”.

In clause 5(1)(b), omit “5” and insert “10”.

In clause 5(5), omit “5” and insert “10”.

This amendment provides that the presumption against prosecution only applies after 10 years (instead of 5 years).

Remove war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture from the scope of the presumption against prosecution

Add a new clause 6(2A) as follows:

(2A) An offence is not a relevant offence if it amounts to—

(a) torture, within the meaning of section 134 Criminal Justice Act 1988; or

(b) genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime as defined in section 50 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

This amendment provides that the presumption against prosecution does not apply to war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or torture.

Remove the inability to exercise self-control or exercise sound judgement as a reason not to prosecute

Omit clause 3(2)(a), clause 3(3) and clause 3(4).

This amendment would delete the requirement to give “particular weight” in any prosecution decision after [5] years to a person having an impaired ability to exercise self-control or to exercise sound judgement whilst being deployed on operations overseas.

Remove the requirement to have the consent of the Attorney General where the Service Prosecuting Authority has already determined that there is sufficient evidence and that the prosecution is in the public interest

Omit clause 5.

This amendment removes the requirement that the Attorney General must consent to the prosecution if brought after [5] years, where the Service Prosecuting Authority (or the Crown Prosecution Service) has already determined that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute and that the prosecution is in the public interest.

Limitations on bringing proceedings under the Human Rights Act

Omit clause 11.

This amendment deletes clause 11 (which introduces a hard deadline for human rights claims and also includes some complex provisions around the impact of proceedings on the mental health of Armed Forces witnesses).





Published: 29 October 2020