Crewe and Nantwich MP Dr Kieran Mullan yesterday (November 3rd) voted to support the Overseas Operations Bill which has been dubbed as the “Torture Bill”.
The bill, which is intended to protect troops from vexatious prosecutions has proved controversial as it’s argued it would allow for troops to avoid prosecution for alleged acts of torture in the future.
Legal experts have said the bill will introduce a “presumption against prosecution” for current or former troops for offences allegedly committed while overseas and in the line of duty more than five years ago.
Reviewing the bill, The Law Society said:
The presumption would apply to some of the most serious crimes, such as torture. The prohibition of torture is absolute. To allow allegations of it to go unanswered would damage this vital protection, setting a dangerous example to other countries and presenting a marked step backwards for human rights standards in the UK.
Torture is illegal under the UN Convention against Torture, the Geneva Convention and the Human Rights Act.
Conservative MP David Davis writing about the Overseas Operations Bill for The Times newspaper on September 21st, said he was:
Deeply troubled by government plans to decriminalise torture by British personnel
Former Paratrooper and Labour MP, Dan Jarvis said during the commons debate:
There is no debate on what constitutes torture. Nor can an act of torture be conducted in error or as the result of a split-second misjudgement. It is a premeditated action
By not excluding torture on the face of this bill, the government is, I believe taking another step backwards on international law and on human rights
The Crewe and Nantwich MP also voted against an amendment submitted by his fellow Conservative MP Mr Davis which sought to exclude torture from being included in the bill, this was defeated however by 334 votes to 269.