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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evaluation his Department has made of the role of Russia in the decision by the Northern Alliance to occupy Kabul. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In Kabul, the Northern Alliance took over a city abandoned by the Taliban. We are not aware of any Russian role in this decision.
Russia has made a valuable humanitarian contribution to the coalition's campaign against terrorism. We also welcomed their political support for the Bonn conference and the newly agreed Interim Administration.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the expected nature and extent of Russian influence in post-conflict Afghanistan. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Russian Government welcomed the results of the Bonn conference and saw it as an important step towards a post-conflict settlement in Afghanistan. We expect their political support to continue to ensure implementation of the decisions adopted. We also expect this to be reinforced by on-going humanitarian assistance (including medicines, a field hospital and de-mining assistance).
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support an investigation into events at Mazar-i-Sharif to establish (a) whether adequate steps were taken at the outset (i) to deter a revolt and (ii) to prevent access to the weapons used for the revolt, (b) the circumstances under which Taliban prisoners who had their hands bound were killed and (c) the standard of treatment of Taliban fighters (1) who tried to surrender, (2) became incapacitated and (3) who otherwise stopped fighting. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We take very seriously our obligations under the Geneva Conventions with regard to the enforcement of international law and have urged the Northern Alliance to treat humanely all those who have surrendered and are taken prisoner. But we do not think it appropriate to call for an investigation into the events at Mazar-i-Sharif at the present time.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the UK will be involved in setting up procedures for the (a) safe surrender, (b) disarming and (c) detention of captured fighters in Afghanistan. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: Most fighters in Afghanistan are being held by the Northern Alliance or other Afghan groups. We have urged those groups to set up the necessary procedures to handle prisoners in accordance with international norms. We would look to the ICRC to monitor these procedures. The UK itself does not have sufficient forces on the ground to handle captured fighters.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the UK Government and their coalition allies in Afghanistan provide logistic support to ensure the humane treatment of prisoners in their custody. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK does not have sufficient forces on the ground to provide logistical support nor handle captured fighters in Afghanistan. We have urged the Northern Alliance to treat humanely all those who are prisoners in their custody.
Mr. Olner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps have been taken to inform people about the law-making process in the European Union. 
Peter Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published a leaflet which summarises the process by which European Directives and Regulations are made. This is being given a wide distribution and is available on the FCO website at www.fco.gov.uk. Copies are available for collection in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Olner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps have been taken to inform people about the meaning of the European Union treaties. 
Peter Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published a leaflet which summarises the European Union Treaties in under 300 words. This is being given a wide distribution and is also available on the FCO website at www.fco.gov.uk. Copies are available for collection in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Olner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many indemnity undertakings were given by his Department in respect of loss or damage to works of art loaned to the British Council for exhibition overseas for the six-month period ended 30 September; and what the value was of the contingent liabilities in respect of such undertakings which remained outstanding at that date. 
Mr. MacShane: The British Council, although not a Government Department, receives a substantial Grant in Aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It regularly organises or sponsors exhibitions overseas of works of art loaned from National Galleries and private collections in the United Kingdom. It provides certain assurances or guarantees in respect of loss or damage while these works are on loan.
In the six month period ended 30 September 2001 the British Council provided such assurances to two national lenders and undertakings to 14 private lenders. The value of the contingent liabilities that remained outstanding as
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at 30 September 2001 in respect of national lenders was £464,200 and in respect of private lenders was £3,797,125 ie a total of £4,261,325.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what judicial procedures will be set up to try those in custody accused of (a) war crimes, (b) crimes against humanity and (c) other serious violations of international law. 
Mr. Bradshaw: United Kingdom courts have jurisdiction in respect of crimes against humanity and war crimes (which include serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict) only when the offences are committed in the United Kingdom or, outside the United Kingdom, by a national or resident of the UK or by a person subject to UK service jurisdiction. New judicial procedures are not therefore needed.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the public service agreement target for efficiency in the criminal justice system. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: There is a broad range of activity to modernise and improve all of the criminal justice organisations. This work has enabled us to achieve our Youth Justice Pledge of halving the time taken from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders.
The Government are also considering and consulting on two major reports (Making Sentencing Workreport of the Review of the Sentencing Framework for England and Wales, and Lord Justice Auld's Review of the Criminal Courts In England and Wales) which will lead to wide ranging programmes to improve efficiency in the Criminal Justice System. Although there is no cross-cutting public service agreement target for efficiency, the public service agreement does contain a value for money target which it is envisaged will be set by March 2002.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance his Department provided in 200001 to those charities which are on the central register of charities but did not receive guidance under the public service agreement target set out on page 169 of the 2001 Department report. 
Angela Eagle: None. This is a matter for the Charity Commission as the Government Department which has a range of statutory powers to help and supervise charities. The Chief Charity Commissioner will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if the public service agreement target to ensure by March 2001 that charities are able to operate for their proper purpose by increasing the percentage of cases where legal authority is exercised at Charity Commission instigation was achieved; 
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(3) what is the role of the Charity Commission in the cases in which it does not initiate the provision of substantive guidance on governance and administration; 
(4) if the public service agreement target for the staff cost per charity monitored was achieved by March 2001; 
(5) if the public service agreement target to monitor 85 per cent. of the target grant of charities by March 2001 was achieved; 
(6) if the public service agreement target to benchmark impact indicators for the Charity Commission and implement them from January was achieved; 
(7) what progress was made in 200001 in reducing absence on sick leave by staff of the Charity Commission; 
(8) if the public service agreement target to improve by March 2001 the effectiveness of charities' operations by the Commission initiating the provisions of substantive guidance on governance and administration was achieved; 
(9) if the public service agreement to increase the cost effectiveness of the Charity Commission's investigative results to 90 per cent. was achieved; 
(10) if the public service agreement target to determine by March 2001 charities status within 95 working days of the application for registration being received was achieved; 
(11) if the public service agreement target to provide guidance by 31 March 2001 to 58 per cent. of charities which are placed on the central register of charities was achieved. 
Angela Eagle: These are matters for the Charity Commission, who will write to the hon. Member. A copy of the Commission's reply will be placed in the Library.
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