Press release: Embargoed to 00:01hrs 20 May 2024

Today, 20 May, the campaign group, Defend Our Juries, has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Parkinson, calling on him to resist political pressure to prosecute those taking measures to uphold international law.

The action reflects mounting concern across the public sector, including the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), that government policies such as on deportations to Rwanda, the ongoing supply of arms to Israel, and the ‘maxing out’ on North Sea Oil and Gas are inconsistent with national and international law and the civil service code of conduct. The FDA union for civil servants has recently commenced legal action against the Government over its policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, on the basis that implementing the policy would require civil servants to break their own code.

The group is also staging an action outside CPS HQ holding banners and signs to reinforce the message, and handing out leaflets to CPS staff, offering a confidential line of reporting. The action, which comes on the same day that Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition proceedings is back in court, is intended as an expression of support and solidarity for members of staff committed to their code of conduct and international law. It also comes as James Cleverley, the Home Secretary, is expected to present to Parliament a report by Lord Walney, calling for the banning of direct action groups like Palestine Action and Just Stop Oil, despite knowing that Walney is a paid lobbyist for arms and oil companies.

The letter states:

“We consider it to be inconsistent with both the code of conduct and the public interest to prosecute those who are taking nonviolent and proportionate measures to uphold the rule of law, such as those seeking to prevent:

  • the deportation to Rwanda of people seeking asylum, in violation of international law (see UNHCR conclusion: “the UK-Rwanda Partnership Treaty and accompanying legislative scheme does not meet the required standards relating to the legality and appropriateness of the transfer of asylum seekers and is not compatible with international refugee law”).

No CPS employee should feel pressured into complicity in violations of international law, and we trust that as DPP, you will stand up for your team in resisting political pressures to violate the civil service code of conduct. We will take steps to ensure that all your staff have the means of reporting, confidentially, any concerns.”

Notes for editors

Press contact: 07795 316164


Images and video available here

The letter in full: CPS Letter, 20 MAY

Rwanda: Civil servants mount court challenge over new law” (BBC)

Western officials in protest over Israel Gaza policy” (BBC)

Government ‘Independent Adviser’ Who ‘Backs Ban’ on Climate and Palestine Groups has Paid Roles with Defence and Business Lobbyists” (Byline Times)