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Norway proposes new laws on genocide and war crimes

[JURIST] The government of Norway [JURIST news archive] Friday proposed creating laws to allow for the prosecution of war crimes, genocide and terrorism. Current Norwegian law does not specifically include these offenses, and it is standard policy to turn over accused war criminals to international war crime tribunals in The Hague. Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget [official profile] said that the new legislation would discourage accused war criminals from trying to use Norway as a safe harbor to flee prosecution. AP has more.

Last year, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [official website; JURIST news archive] denied prosecutors' request to transfer the trial of Rwandan genocide suspect Michel Bagaragaza [Trial Watch profile] to Norway because Norway did not have a specific law against genocide. In its decision [text], the UN-backed court rejected the move because, under Norwegian law, Bagaragaza could have been charged only with homicide and, if convicted, likely would have spent no more than 21 years in prison. Prosecutors had sought the transfer [JURIST report] because of a backlog of cases. Norway would have become the first country outside Africa to try an African war crimes suspect.

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