Foreign Fighters and the Death Penalty Debate

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Department: Home Office

Foreign Fighters and the Death Penalty
Sir Edward Davey Excerpts
Monday 23rd July 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mr Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Jul 2018, 4:05 p.m.

My right hon. and learned Friend, having produced plenty of advices in his previous role as Attorney General to Her Majesty’s Government, will recognise the challenges that Ministers face in balancing the need for making the decision about trial—[Interruption.] Opposition Members chunter from a sedentary position. The reality, as my right hon. and learned Friend said, is that we all desire these people to face trial. If Ministers are faced with the prospect of not being able to try them in the United Kingdom but an ally seeks evidence that could lead to them being tried, Ministers have an obligation to the citizens of this country to balance that request and the likelihood of trial with the extent to which they will seek assurances, if we think that is important for keeping people safe in the United Kingdom. In this case, Ministers have made the decision that we are not going to seek assurances, because we do not think we have the evidence here to try them in the United Kingdom and we hope that a trial will be carried out in the United States. That is the balance. My right hon. and learned Friend may disagree with the balance we have chosen to take, but that is the responsibility of the Ministers holding the onerous task of trying to keep us safe, while balancing that with human rights.

Sir Edward Davey Portrait Sir Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD) - Hansard
23 Jul 2018, 4:05 p.m.

Why did Ministers not seek death penalty assurances?

Mr Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Jul 2018, 4:06 p.m.

Because we are interested in seeking criminal justice in line with international law and our law. Where we feel the assurance might get in the way of being able to do that—[Interruption.] No, no; if the right hon. Gentleman faced the choice of either having to see these people go free and potentially wander around his constituency or go to trial, he might take a different view. In this case, Ministers looked at the request before them and, acting lawfully and in line with the OSJA, chose to take that decision.