War Criminals Applying For Asylum In UK, Figures Show

100 Suspected War Criminals Apply For Asylum In UK
War criminals asylum
War criminals asylum

Almost 100 suspected war criminals have applied for asylum in Britain, the BBC has discovered.

Most of the suspects, from countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, Serbia and Sri Lanka, have probably been living here for years.

The figures have emerged via a Freedom of Information Act request by the corporation.

The Home Office said it was determined the UK would not become a refuge for war criminals after identifying the suspects last year.

In the 15 months from January 2012, the Home Office researched nearly 800 cases where individuals were suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It made "adverse recommendations" against 99 people who had applied for British citizenship, asylum or leave to remain in the UK, the BBC reported.

A further 16 war crimes suspects had applied to enter the UK.

It follows earlier figures suggesting more than 700 suspected war criminals were identified by UK immigration officials between 2005 and 2012.

Michael McCann, chairman of a cross-party parliamentary group to prevent genocide, said the figures revealed the need for greater Government transparency on the issue.

"The organisation in the Home Office that used to deal with this - the UKBA (UK Border Agency) - was a basket case," the Labour MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow told the BBC.

"It had failed on so many different levels I've lost count.

"I have deep concerns that the Home Office isn't being as forthright as it could be and I think we should be drilling down into these cases in order to give the public of our country that security."

Of the 99 suspects, three were deported last year, 20 were refused asylum and 46 had their citizenship bids turned down but are likely to have remained in the UK.

The fate of the remaining suspects is unknown.

Five Rwandan men were arrested in Britain in May on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide that led to the deaths of an estimated 800,000 people.

Three remain in custody and two were released on bail.

The men deny any involvement.

Kevin Laue, of Redress, a charity campaigning to prevent genocide, said: "The police need more resources to investigate these crimes because it's difficult to investigate them.

"That, in turn, requires more political will and commitment at the higher level for them to be given the resources to properly investigate."

The Metropolitan Police told the BBC that 56 people in the UK are currently subject to war crimes inquiries, although only nine cases were passed on to them by the Home Office.


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