International Criminal Court Bill [Lords]

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Mr. Maclennan: For the avoidance of doubt, my sympathy was for the idea of improving scrutiny by Parliament, not for the idea of giving Parliament the power to stop the changes.

Mr. Blunt: That is an extremely odd position to take. The Executive are in Parliament and accountable to Parliament, so if Parliament wants to stop the changes taking place, it should be able to do so. The right hon. Gentleman explained that his arguments were a halfway house, but I fear that he is perched so firmly on the fence that the iron has entered his soul. That is a most uncharacteristic position for him, although not for his party. I shall go along with the Solicitor-General in one respect and accept that this might be an argument for another day, and I fully intend to return to the matter on Report. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the new clause.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

The Chairman: If there are no objections, I shall ask the Committee whether clauses 27 to 48 inclusive should stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Garnier: On a point of order, Mr. Cook. Together with the schedules?

The Chairman: Yes, indeed.

Clauses 27 and 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clauses 29 to 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clauses 35 to 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Clause 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 6 agreed to.

Clauses 39 to 42 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 7 agreed to.

Clauses 43 to 48 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 49

Power to make provision for enforcement of other orders

Mrs. Gillan: I beg to move amendment No. 59, in page 25, line 14, at end insert

    `, and

    (c) orders relating to the payment of reparations to victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court and from the Trust Fund established under Article 79'.

In speaking briefly to the amendment, I take the opportunity to pay tribute to some of the organisations that have taken the time and trouble to take a great interest in the passage of the Bill—Simon Burrell at the One World Trust, Clare Crawford at Save the Children and Christopher Hall at Amnesty International, as well as Christian Mitchell, who has been very instrumental in helping to prepare for the scrutiny of the Bill. I particularly pay tribute to Sherman Carroll of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, who has been pressing for the amendment and has been the inspiration behind it.

Clause 49 empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations to enforce fines, forfeitures or reparation orders issued by the ICC against a convicted individual. The Foreign Secretary takes credit for the stand that he supported taken by the British delegation at the Rome conference in 1998, especially on article 75 of the statute, which covers reparations to victims. However, article 79 envisages the establishment of a trust fund by decision of the assembly of states parties for the benefit of victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the court and of the families of such victims.

Article 79 provides that the trust fund will be established by a decision-making process, and that the court may order money or other property to be collected through the fines or forfeiture, which will be transferred by order of the court to the trust fund. The trust fund itself was to be managed according to criteria that are eventually to be determined by the assembly of states parties. Given that the Foreign Secretary was keen to claim credit for the British stance over reparations, it is surprising that clause 49 should be silent on the United Nations trust fund as laid out in article 79.

11.15 am

Clause 49 will lead to a number of regulations, most being related to the fines and forfeitures to be levied against convicted perpetrators, and others making provision for reparations to victims. I know that the Medical Foundation and other bodies would welcome the opportunity to comment on the regulations. I may not be in the Room when the Minister responds to the amendment, but I hope that he will offer such an opportunity to the Medical Foundation and its representatives.

The foundation has examined and treated about 25,000 survivors of torture and organised violence since 1986, and last year 5,026 new patients from 96 countries sought its help. It hopes that the regulations will reflect the long-term need for rehabilitation of the many thousands of survivors of torture and other gross violations of human rights who reside within the jurisdiction of our courts.

Mr. Battle: I would compliment organisations such as Amnesty International, Save the Children and the Medical Foundation. However, I remind the hon. Lady that the Bill is part of a legislative process. To the best of my knowledge, those organisations have been kept in close contact throughout the formation of the legislation. They were engaged in the consultation process, and they also had access to officials in the other place as the legislative process went through the other place and the House of Commons. They have had at least two or three meetings with officials during the process. We will do our best to meet their concerns.

Mrs. Gillan: I am grateful for that intervention. I do not complain about access. However, the Minister has still not satisfied some of their concerns. I therefore feel justified in putting their concerns on the record. Indeed, it seems that no one else will speak for them, so I am obliged to put forward what I believe are sensible recommendations. I know that they have urged the Government to refer explicitly in the Bill to the future of the UN trust fund. They believe that the financial assets of the convicted perpetrator will often not be enough to met the compensation needs of victims and their families.

The Canadian Government have already created such a fund in the context of the ICC. If Canada can do it, why cannot we? If Canada can do it, why cannot we? The Medical Foundation and others certainly believe that the Government should do something similar. Even if the Minister does not want to create a separate British trust fund, the Bill should at least refer to the international fund and to article 79. There should certainly have been an indication of our intention to contribute to such a fund, because the finances are unclear.

It is not only the Medical Foundation that has voiced concerns. Amnesty International's copious and detailed notes on the ICC state:

    ``The ICC can also award compensation to victims from a special Trust Fund. Canada's implementing legislation provides for a national Crimes Against Humanity Fund. This will receive money obtained through enforcement of ICC orders and voluntary donations. Canada's Attorney General is empowered to make payments from this Fund to the ICC's Trust Fund, to victims and to their families. We are disappointed that the UK Government has not followed this positive example.''

This is not the first time that the matter has been raised with the Government; it was raised throughout the consultation process, although I felt that that process was short and rushed, and it resulted in a fairly scrappy document being prepared for January 2001. There is only a small reference to the issue in the discussion of clause 46. Paragraph 64 deals with the Government's response and states:

    ``The criminal injuries compensation scheme would also apply if the crimes of violence were committed in the UK. In view of the domestic mechanisms already in place, the Government sees no practical benefit in creating a domestic ICC Trust Fund.''

That is not in the spirit of the negotiations, the fund's inclusion in the originating statute or the way in which organisations carried out their lobbying. I hope that the Minister will not be as brief as the Government were in their response to the consultation process.

The proposed Scottish legislation is also silent on the fund. It would be helpful if the Minister could lay out the position in Scotland as regards the trust fund and reparations and explain how that will dovetail with the existing provisions.

I will not be present for what I trust will be the substantive part of the Minister's response, although he might get a couple of minutes if I sit down now. However, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Harborough will pursue the matter. If the Minister does not satisfy us, we might need to put the matter to a vote.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to speak about this issue on behalf of the Medical Foundation and others who have found that their requests have fallen on deaf ears, despite consultation with the Minister. I understand that he might be hidebound and unable to alter the Bill because of his riding orders, but he should examine the issue seriously, particularly in the light of the well-meaning and reasonable representations that have been made to the Government.

Mr. Garnier: I want to ask one or two questions about article 79 of the statute and about the trust fund set up by treaty. What would we accept as a trust fund under English law? Are there trustees and so forth, or are we talking simply about a bank account that is administered by the ICC? Many things are called trusts although they are not trusts in law. The National Trust is a classic example because it looks like a trust but is simply an organisation. It is perhaps a corporate organisation, but it is not a trust.

Secondly, if it is a trust fund in the English sense, where will the money be deposited? Will it be invested, or will it be kept in an interest-accruing account; and, if so, where will that account be held? If the trust is allowed to make investments, where will those investments be made? Will they be made through the London stock exchange, the Frankfurt exchange or internationally through a number of exchanges? A number of obvious questions occur to one as one investigates the trust fund.

        It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

        Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Cook, Mr. Frank (Chairman)
Battle, Mr.
Blunt, Mr.
Browne, Mr.
Cranston, Mr.
Day, Mrs.
Ellman, Mrs.
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Gapes, Mr.
Garnier, Mr.
Gillan, Mrs.
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
King, Ms Oona
Lammy, Mr.
Maclennan, Mr.
McNulty, Mr.
Naysmith, Dr.
Worthington, Mr.

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