The Overseas Operations Bill 2020 would introduce a statute of limitations on prosecutions of serious crimes, including war crimes and human rights abuses, that in itself breaks international law that the UK has freely signed up to.
These international laws include the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute and the European Convention on Human Rights. No one is above the law and we must ensure that military law has the reach to prosecute serious crimes that may be committed. This reach is essential in protecting the military’s irreproachability as a professional organisation subject to the law, and military values and standards.
We acknowledge the challenges that come with military service to which we need to be sensitive and the volatile circumstances that come with service, but no one is above the law – that is why the SNP has introduced a reasoned amendment at second reading.
This bill once again shows the Conservatives’ scant regard for international law, which it now sees fit to ignore once again – potentially endangering the reputation, and even safety, of the UK’s armed forces while failing to address the fundamental issues or giving clarity.