§ Baroness Jeger
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What progress has been made in the implementation of the War Crimes Act 1991; at what financial cost; and to what effect. [HL319]
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
To date a total of 376 cases have been considered by the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police War Crimes Units. Most cases have not led to criminal proceedings either because the suspects have died or because there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecutions.
Two cases remain under investigation. In one case a person has been charged with four specimen charges relating to the murder of Jewish civilians in Belarus and is due to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court on 8 February 1999. In the other case, the allegations currently under investigation relate to the murder of Jewish civilians in the Ukraine. It is anticipated that police investigations will be completed by March 1999.
There has been one previous prosecution. In April 1996 Szymon Serafinowicz was committed for trial from Dorking Magistrates' Court to the Central Criminal Court on allegations of the murder of Jewish civilians in Belarus. In January 1997 a jury at the Central Criminal Court found the defendant unfit to stand trial. Subsequently the Attorney-General entered a nolle prosequi (permanent stay on the prosecution) due to the defendant's failing mental health. Mr. Serafinowicz has since died.
Metropolitan Police expenditure currently stands at approximately £6.5 million and Crown Prosecution Service expenditure currently stands at approximately £3.5 million for war crimes investigations and prosecutions.