Documents considered by the Committee on 14th October 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents


22 Promoting transitional justice in external action

Committee's assessment Legally and politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny; relevant to the debate on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-19 recommended on the floor of the House (decision reported on 16.09.15); drawn to the attention of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Justice Committee, the Women and Equalities Committee and the International Development Committee
Document detailsJoint Staff Working document: The EU's Framework on support to transitional justice
Legal base
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document Numbers(37051), 11422/15, SWD(15) 158

Summary and Committee's conclusions

22.1 The new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 (the Action Plan)[ 125] was adopted by Council Conclusions by the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 July 2015. The Action Plan sets out practical steps that the EU and its Member States will take in the next four years to build upon the existing body of EU external action on human rights and democracy worldwide. The current document represents the EU's action to develop a policy on transitional justice as one of those steps and forms part of the implementation of the Action Plan. We decided to recommend the Action Plan for debate on the floor of the House in our Report of 16 September 2015[ 126] and, given the likely wider interest across the House, we drew it to the attention of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Justice Committee, the Women and Equalities Committee and the International Development Committee.

22.2 The aim of the document is to provide a framework for EU support to transitional justice mechanisms and processes. It promotes a more consistent and active role for the EU in its engagement with partner countries, international and regional organisations. It sets out how the EU might operate in situations where past abuses, including gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law have occurred. This is through a combination of measures, tailored to the specific context of the country concerned and designed to promote truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.

22.3 The Government is supportive of this document, seeing it as complementary to existing UK foreign policy on transitional justice.

22.4 This document is relevant to the debate on the floor of the House which we recommended in our Report of 16 September on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-19, and we ask the Government to include this chapter in the debate pack.

22.5 We also draw this document to the attention of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Justice Committee, the Women and Equalities Committee and the International Development Committee.

22.6 We clear the document from scrutiny.

Full details of the document: Joint Staff Working document: The EU's Framework on support to transitional justice: (37051), 11422/15, SWD(15) 158.

Background

22.7 In 2012 the EU presented a package of initiatives with the aim of promoting human rights and democracy in EU external policy. The Human Rights and Democracy package consisted of the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy,[ 127] the proposed appointment of the EU Special Representative on Human Rights (his mandate having been recently extended)[ 128] and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2012-14.[ 129] That Action Plan terminated on 31 December 2014 and is replaced by the new Action Plan for 2015-19.

The Government's view

22.8 In his Explanatory Memorandum[ 130] of 15 September 2015, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) says the document:

·  reinforces the UK's "existing strong policy" in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) — the UK has ratified the Rome Statute;

·  takes into account the UN's framework and activities on transitional justice; and

·  is in line with the UK's recognition that accountability and justice are most successful if the justice system of each state functions effectively and independently.

22.9 He adds that UK support for international criminal justice and accountability is a fundamental aspect of its foreign policy. The Government wants the EU's work on these issues to be "an effective multiplier for the UK's work". He recognises the cross-cutting nature of transitional justice support and its relevance to "criminal justice/international law/human rights to the political/diplomacy to development assistance". The UK's own involvement in establishing transitional justice mechanisms depends on various factors, including the extent of its bilateral relationship with the country concerned as well as international engagement.

Previous Committee Reports

None, but see (36999), —: Fourth Report HC 342-iv (2015-16), chapter 2 (16 September 2015).


125   (36999), -: EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-16. Back

126   (36999), -: Fourth Report HC 342-iv (2015-16), chapter 2 (16 September 2015). Back

127   Council Document of 25 June 2012, 11855/12. Back

128   Council Document of 12 February 2015, 5716/15. Back

129   See footnote 125. Back

130   http://europeanmemoranda.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/files/2015/09/EM_11422-15.pdf. Back


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 14 October 2015