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Peru national first to be arrested under new UK genocide law

A spokesperson for the UK's Metropolitan Police Service [official website] on Thursday confirmed the arrest of a 46-year-old Peruvian national on suspicion of crimes against humanity and torture. He is suspected of involvement with the Shining Path [backgrounder], a Maoist guerilla organization, believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands in conflicts in Peru. The man, whose name has yet to be released, was arrested [Yorkshire Post report] on Tuesday and is being held while police conduct searches of several addresses in the area linked to him. The man is the first to be arrested under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 [materials], which allows UK courts to hear cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by nonresidents between 1991 and 2001.

The change in UK genocide law expanded the jurisdiction of the court to include non-residents who had been involved in crimes against humanity prior to 2001. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 enlarged the International Criminal Court Act 2001 [text], which only covered the prosecution of non-residents for atrocities that occurred after 2001. The change came after proposals by the UK's official adviser on terrorism, Lord Carlile of Berriew [official profile], and Britain's Justice Secretary Jack Straw [official profile] to expand the power [JURIST report] of British authorities to prosecute non-resident individuals suspected of war crimes.

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