France to setup Genocide, War Crimes court
[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 January 2010, 11:23 GMT]
The French government announced Wednesday that it will set up a special judicial unit to investigate and bring charges against people accused of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity in France or abroad, the Washington Post reported. The move is likely to create tension between the French Government and other Governments, such as Sri Lanka, which are alleged to have participated in war crimes and/or genocide, legal sources in Washington said.
The 1988 Criminal Justice Act in Britain had universal jurisdiction which allows a British Court authority over prosecuting crimes anywhere in the world.
Suits brought under this act in Britain for Israel's attacks on Gaza in December 2008, when more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, risked arrests of visiting Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and a group of Israeli military officers, and the Israeli officials had to suspend their visits to the UK.
"Unlike British law, legislation in France allows prosecution for crimes committed outside France but requires some connection between France and the alleged crime, such as involvement of a French citizen or the presence of those accused on French soil. A number of people exiled in France have been accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, for instance, and French-resident relatives of people allegedly tortured in Tunisia have brought charges against authorities of that North African country," the Washington Post said.
"As the homeland of human rights, France will never be a sanctuary for the authors of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity," the paper said quoting Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie.
"People suspected of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity must be judged," they said. "They will be. France solemnly enrolls in the struggle against impunity. Only justice will allow everybody to turn the page, finally bringing out the truth."
Tamil Organizations in France expressed their support to the French Government's action, saying that the expatriate Tamils will soon build on the evidence collected by Tamil organizations worldwide, and the presentations and eye-witness testimonies in the Dublin war-crimes tribunal, to seek judicial redress in the newly constituted French war-crimes court.