It has been a frustrating last few months as we await a decision by the Attorney-General. But we continue and no doubt we will receive a decision eventually.
We have formally instituted a complaint about the delay that you can see here.
We have also written to the A-G more than once a month to ask for a decision.
You can find a summary of all our communications with the A-G and with the complaints Head of Business here.
We will soon be contacting people to help us get and answer and will keep you informed of progress on this front. Meanwhile below is a useful summary of our project that you can be used in many different ways.
A group called Knighton Action for Peace and Justice first asked the Attorney General for consent to prosecute on 19 February 2016. Four other groups formed and asked the AG for consent between April and June 2016. Prior to writing to the AG all five groups wrote to the Secretary of State for Defence and asked him to sign a declaration that Trident will never be used to launch an indiscriminate and/or disproportionate attack, which he refused to do. On 3 August 2016 the AG advised that he would treat the five group requests as a single request. He also requested a comprehensive explanation of the prosecution case.
The AG’s consent to prosecute is required under s.53(3) of the International Criminal Court Act 2001. Paragraph 4(a)2 of the ‘Protocol between the Attorney General and the Prosecuting Departments’ states that “It is a constitutional principal that when taking a decision whether to consent to a prosecution, the Attorney General acts independently of government applying well established prosecution principles of evidential sufficiency and public interest.” In response to the AG’s request for an explanation of the prosecution case PICAT sought the advice of and duly instructed leading counsel to provide the explanation, which they did on 1 October 2016. The AG treated this response as a new application, although no new documentation had been provided.
Despite the provision of our Counsel’s explanation the AG continued to ask for more information, including a draft indictment which was sent on 4th February 2017. Five months later, on 24 July 2017 PICAT made a formal complaint to the AG’s Head of Business Support about the time it was taking for the AG to reach a decision.
The Head concluded that the time taken was within a time-scale that reflected the volume of material to be considered. PICAT then expressed its dissatisfaction with this answer to the Director General of the AG’s office. The Deputy Director replied on 13 September 2017 and acknowledged that for 6 months in 2017 progress was slower than ideal due to pressure from other urgent work but expressed satisfaction that every effort was being made to get a decision to us as swiftly as possible. As of today we are still waiting to receive the AG’s decision more than 20 months after it was first requested.