Previous Section Index Home Page

7 Feb 2005 : Column 1221W—continued


Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the objectives of British development and aid policy in Iraq. [213581]

Hilary Benn: The objectives of DFID's programme in Iraq are: to promote rapid, sustainable and equitable economic growth; to encourage effective and accountable governance, and to promote social and political cohesion and stability.

In meeting these objectives, DFID is:

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial help has been given to the Iraqi Government by the United Kingdom to help towards the cost of rebuilding the city of Fallujah; and if he will make a statement. [213741]

Hilary Benn: The United Kingdom is not providing financial assistance for the reconstruction of Fallujah. $100 million has been allocated from the Iraqi budget for reconstruction work in Fallujah, and United States agencies report that they have planned around 100 reconstruction projects in the Fallujah area worth a total of over $84 million. DFID staff and consultants have made assessment visits to Fallujah and provided advice to the Iraqi Government on the management of health, humanitarian and coordination issues.


Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was received
7 Feb 2005 : Column 1222W
by Israel for (a) humanitarian and (b) military purposes from (i) the Government of the United Kingdom and (ii) other sources from the United Kingdom in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [211761]

Hilary Benn: No humanitarian or military aid has been given by the UK Government to Israel since 1997, other than to fund the attendance of one Israeli participant annually on a military training course at the Royal College of Defence Studies. We do not track the exact amounts of aid from other sources.

Ministerial Engagements

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the ministerial engagements (a) out of London and (b) in London that he has cancelled since 1 January 2004. [209226]

Hilary Benn: Details of cancelled ministerial engagements are not recorded, therefore the information requested cannot be provided.


Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether it is his policy to withhold aid from Rwanda if he receives evidence of attacks by Rwandan forces on groups seeking to destabilise the country, with particular reference to the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe. [213099]

Hilary Benn: The UK Government are Rwanda's major bilateral development partner. Our engagement with the Government of Rwanda is based on the UK/Rwanda Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU describes the Government of Rwanda's commitments to the Rwandan people on poverty reduction, promoting regional stability, creating a democratic and inclusive state, and progressively securing human rights. The Government of Rwanda's undertakings include commitment to playing a full part in international and regional initiatives to prevent and reduce conflict within and between countries and establish peace in central Africa.

The MoU confirms that the UK's engagement depends on continuing progress in these areas. Should we believe that the Government of Rwanda are not honouring the commitments made in the MoU, the UK's programme of assistance to the Government of Rwanda may be reconfigured or suspended.

DFID is concerned by reports that Rwanda planned to mount a cross-border operation in DRC against elements of the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe (ex-FAR/l). Any military action by Rwanda in DRC would have very serious repercussions for Rwanda, DRC and the region as a whole. DFID has urged all parties to refrain from any actions that would breach international law and undermine regional stability and the work of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). We therefore welcome the recent statements by the Government of Rwanda indicating that they will not pursue cross-border military action and will support international efforts to disarm the ex-FAR/l in eastern DRC.
7 Feb 2005 : Column 1223W

DFID condemns the attacks made by the ex-FAR/l against Rwandan citizens and territory and also recognises that the disarmament of the ex-FAR/l is a critical requirement that needs to be addressed urgently. We are working actively with the UN and international partners on how this can best be addressed.

Water Supplies

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the role of private companies in the provision of water in developing countries. [213484]

Hilary Benn: DFID believes that the private sector can play a positive role and contribute to poverty alleviation through bringing gains in productivity, efficiency and quality of service delivery if its involvement is appropriately structured and regulated and includes mechanisms for public consultation. Specific decisions about the use of the private sector are for developing countries to take.

DFID's research in this area has studied the role of non-state service providers and public-private partnerships in order to support developing country governments to strengthen their regulatory structures and institutions to this end.

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of Ghana about their citizens' access to clean water. [213497]

Hilary Benn: During my visit to Ghana in March 2004 I visited Nima, a deprived suburb of Accra, and talked to residents and officials of the Government of Ghana about the problems of poor urban water supply and plans to introduce private sector participation. Since then DFID has been in negotiation with the Government of Ghana on a contribution of £7.7 million which we intend to allocate to improvements in urban water networks.

Access to clean water is a key indicator of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana, and measures to increase such access are included in the dialogue about overall performance that informs the release of Poverty Reduction Budget Support by DFID and other donors.


Rape Trials

Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General what monitoring procedures the Crown Prosecution Service has in place to ensure good quality prosecution by the Bar in rape trials. [207499]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service instructs experienced and committed advocates to prosecute cases involving allegations of rape. This includes instructing advocates of the necessary skill, competence and sensitivity to prosecute rape cases. In London and the South East advocates are instructed from a specialist list. In other parts of the country, Grade 4 advocates are instructed where possible. CPS Areas have been advised in guidance issued in August
7 Feb 2005 : Column 1224W
2003 that local monitoring is appropriate. Examples of local monitoring carried out by CPS Areas include the monitoring of the performance of counsel at trial by experienced caseworkers; monitoring by rape specialists for part of the trial and the raising of performance issues with local Heads of Chambers and at Joint Advocates Selection Committee as appropriate.

In 2002, HMCPSI produced a report on the investigation and prosecution of Rape Offences. It made a number of recommendations, which have been followed up in a joint agency rape action plan. HMCPSI keeps the handling of rape cases under review in its inspection of Areas.

HMCPSI does not specifically look at the handling by the Bar of rape cases but it regards rape cases as sensitive and looks at how such cases are prosecuted in each Area.

Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General what training the Crown Prosecution Service (a) organises for and (b) delivers to the Bar to ensure that its new code of practice on rape prosecutions is followed at trial. [207501]

The Solicitor-General: The CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape" explains the way in which the CPS deals with cases in which an allegation of rape has been made.

The training the CPS delivers to the Bar on the CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape" is determined at a local level. Not all CPS Areas have a local Bar. Seven CPS Areas have offered, organised and trained or provided training materials to their local Bar covering the Sexual Offences Act 2003 of which two Areas gave specific training on the CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape". Other Areas have distributed the CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape" highlighting the issues raised in the document.

In addition, this document is on the CPS website and available to all barristers.

Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General what training is given by the Crown Prosecution Service to the Bar about resisting applications for the admission of previous sexual history in rape trials. [207502]

The Solicitor-General: There is a small number of CPS Areas who have provided training to their local Bar on the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which incorporated training on section 41 applications, although generally there is no specific training conducted by the CPS for the Bar on resisting defence applications for the admission of previous sexual history.

The CPS Instructions for Prosecuting Advocates booklet, available on the CPS website, provide that it is essential that advocates are robust in dealing with applications by the defence to cross-examine about previous sexual history and that the correct procedure is followed to ensure that inappropriate questioning does not take place.

The CPS instructs experienced counsel in rape cases ensuring that scrutiny of defence applications to admit evidence of previous sexual history takes place and inappropriate applications are countered robustly.
7 Feb 2005 : Column 1225W

The CPS and the Bar are in discussions on how counsel might best be able to demonstrate the necessary competencies to prosecute rape cases. An option is for them to have attended and appropriate training course.

Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General what instructions are given by the Crown Prosecution Service to the Bar in rape trials about meeting and speaking to the complainant. [207504]

The Solicitor-General: The instructions given by the Crown Prosecution Service to the Bar about meeting and speaking to complainants in all trials are provided in the Crown Prosecution Service's Instructions to Advocates booklet.

The booklet contains the following instructions:

Instructions to Prosecuting Advocates also remind the Bar that in some cases, the advocate may be expected to attend an early special measures meeting, at which the police and the CPS will discuss special measures in the case. All rape victims are considered prima facie eligible for special measures unless they decline them.

The instructions to Prosecuting Advocates booklet is available on the internet.

Further work is ongoing between the CPS and the Bar to reinforce CPS expectations that prosecuting counsel will communicate appropriately with victims, particularly rape victims, at court.
7 Feb 2005 : Column 1226W

Next Section Index Home Page