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Justice delayed is justice denied.

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Senator Brian Greig Australian Democrats Spokesperson for Law and Justice

9 November 2001 MEDIA RELEASE 01/716

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied Konrad Kalejs case shows we must act sooner

The clumsy and inadequate process of bringing alleged war criminals to justice in Australia is failing our community and our international obligations, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Justice spokesperson Senator Brian Greig, says that if Australia had its own anti-genocide laws, cases such as that of Mr Kalejs could have been properly investigated years ago and without the need for extradition.

“The old age and frail condition of suspected war criminals is no excuse to delay and frustrate justice. No stone should be left unturned in the pursuit of those suspected or involved in crimes against humanity,” Senator Greig said.

“With more that 70 alleged war criminals living in Australia, time is running out to investigate these people before many of them are too frail or ill to face the courts.”

Although Australia signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1949, it has never been enacted into domestic law. As a consequence, the Government cannot investigate and prosecute those suspected of genocide.

“The Democrats have tried repeatedly to press ahead with anti-genocide legislation, but on each occasion it has been opposed by both the Government and Labor,” Senator Greig said.

“Our country is a safe haven for war criminals, not just from Nazi Germany but also from more recent conflicts in Rwanda, Cambodia, East Timor, and the Balkans.”

Senator Greig says Australia needs anti-genocide laws, the reinstatement of the Special Investigations Unit and legislation allowing the Government to revoke the citizenship of those found guilty of war crimes.

Further details and media contact: Senator Greig on 08) 9228 3133 or Di Graham on 0417 177 523