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Lord Desai: My Lords, as one who does not have a car, I greatly welcome the White Paper. Perhaps I may draw my noble friend's attention to the fact that those of us who use the buses have very different needs at different times. When travelling to work, we need speed and reliability, whereas shoppers using the buses do not need speed quite as much as they need comfortable buses on which it is easy to load their shopping and their children. Will my noble friend draw the attention of the commission on integrated transport to the fact that differently shaped buses are required at different times of the day and in different areas? I believe that that is possible with the new technology. Anyone who has seen a mother with two children and two shopping bags trying to get on to a single-operator bus will know what I mean.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I must advise my noble friend that when I shop, I certainly need speed--and not only when I go to work. But that may simply reflect the reality of women's lives! I take my noble friend's point. His concerns lie behind the challenge which my right honourable friend put today to the bus industry. There are wonderful examples of buses which are accessible to people in wheelchairs, with pushchairs or with large amounts of shopping. However, investment is needed to ensure that such buses are available to everyone and, as my noble friend pointed out, they are reliable, whatever the journey. That means giving buses priority. It means more bus lanes and better enforcement of those bus lanes.
Lord Clark of Kempston: My Lords, does the Minister realise that I am "allergic" to cyclists and that it is not a question merely of providing cycle lanes, but, as my noble friend Lord Beloff said, of preventing cyclists riding on the pavement and jumping the traffic lights?
With regard to taxation on non-residential parking, does the Minister agree that if such a charge is levied on Members of both Houses of Parliament, that will amount to taxpayers making direct payments? Presumably, for businesses, any such charge will be allowable for taxation purposes, which means that the taxpayers again will pay for that loss of corporation tax on the profits of the business. Will the Minister explain whether the money allocated to the new fund--"ring-fenced" as the Minister said--will be the gross amount or the amount net of tax?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, that detailed question shows why there has to be a consultation document on the proposals and on, for instance, the question of possible exemptions, which was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara. On the general principle of workplace parking, I do not think that it is right that we should talk about government exemptions--quite the opposite. The Government should be leading by example. The main government departments have already been consulted on "green commuting" plans. They will be expected to draw up such plans and to consider how their workplaces can encourage sustainable transport policies. Such plans are expected to be in place by next year. All government departments will be expected to have such plans in place by the year 2000. It would be foolish of me to talk in detail about parking charges for your Lordships' House--and even more foolish to do so in connection with another place. However, any exemptions would have to be very well argued.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I welcome the Statement, and especially the fact that my noble friend has laid down the foundations for the long-awaited integrated transport policy. Does my noble friend accept that, as a cyclist, and as somebody who has never--or hardly ever!--ridden on a pavement, I feel something of an endangered species in your Lordships' House? Does my noble friend accept that although we should be encouraging cyclists to obey the law and to use the roads safely, that would come much easier if facilities for cyclists were much improved? At the moment, the behaviour of many motorists does not encourage cyclists to behave sensibly themselves.
Does my noble friend accept that her remarks on home zones have been very encouraging? I refer particularly to the fact that local authorities are being encouraged to consider whether they could adopt home zones in some of their districts. That adoption would be welcome as it would encourage parents to allow their children to play out in the neighbourhood of their own homes again rather than being cut off and not allowed to go out. If local authorities say that home zones are difficult to implement without legislation, will my noble friend consider bringing forward legislation to enable such zones to be implemented effectively?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, we need to look at this stage by stage. We are already facing quite a legislative programme as a result of the White Paper. A great deal can be achieved. If it emerges that there are
With regard to my noble friend's comments about cycling, it is a shame when something is always somebody else's fault. There is a shared responsibility here. Everyone has to behave responsibly. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all need to behave responsibly. In our review of the driving test and of the question bank for the written driving test, we are trying to ensure that more emphasis is given to alerting drivers to be aware of the needs of vulnerable road users, whether cyclists, horse riders or pedestrians. In the past, that has sometimes been neglected.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am glad that cycling has been mentioned. Will the Minister consider making cycling policy one of the daughter documents? At the moment, it does not appear on the list in Annex A. Cycling policy is most important. I am glad that my noble friend Lord Beloff feels that it is at the heart of the White Paper; my worry is that it is not. However, there is much scope in the White Paper and there is much that could be done. Perhaps I may remind the Minister of the words of one of the most effective Ministers of Transport we have ever had, Mr. Ernest Marples, when we were young--some of us very, very young--that it is action, not words, that counts. It is what you do, not what you say, that matters.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, the White Paper provides a long programme of action as well as a good number of words. The Cycling Strategy Group drew up targets to increase cycling and they are endorsed in the Statement. Very much in line with what the noble Lord has said, when we look at the advice given to local authorities in terms of outputs from local transport plans, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Wherever a holistic approach has been taken to transport needs in a particular area the encouragement of cycling in a safe environment has had enormous benefits both for individuals and communities. As to the role of the Highways Agency a lot more can be done to make cycling safe, even on trunk roads. That is one of the responsibilities to be taken on by the Highways Agency.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement on the International Criminal Court which is being made in another place by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. The Statement is as follows:
"The result is a strong court with wide powers. The court will have the power to try cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. These will include crimes of sexual violence, such as the use of mass rape as an instrument of ethnic cleansing of the kind practised in Bosnia. It will also be an offence liable to prosecution before the court to conscript children under 15 into military service.
"The British delegation played a key part to secure a definition of war crimes which embraces internal conflict, not just wars between states. This is of great importance, as most of the violence of the past two decades has arisen from internal not external conflicts. The British team also took the initiative in proposing that the court should have power to order those who are guilty to pay reparations to those who were their victims. This is a new power which is not available to the current tribunals on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and reflects the fact that those who abuse their power to commit crimes against others often also abuse their power to make themselves wealthy. We consistently rejected attempts by other countries to give the court the power of the death penalty and were successful in maintaining a majority against an international body having the power to order the death penalty.
"Much of the debate in the period running up to the Rome conference revolved around the independence of the prosecutor. I am pleased to report that with British support the prosecutor will have the power to initiate investigations leading to prosecution on his or her own authority. States which are party to the treaty can also refer alleged crimes for investigation, but the prosecutor can take the initiative without waiting for such a referral.
"It has been our objective from the start to secure maximum support for the International Criminal Court. To be credible such a court must command substantial support in the international community. I have to say to the House that the final vote in support of the court by 120 votes to seven exceeded our expectations. The large number voting in favour was in part a reflection of the comprehensive international presence at the Rome conference, which was helped by the financial support Britain and others provided to the costs of attendance of 50 smaller and
"I understand the regrets of those who would have preferred there to be no such reservation, but I firmly believe that it was right to make a limited compromise in order to secure wider support for the court and thereby achieve greater credibility for its authority. I am sorry that at the end of the Rome conference the United States felt unable to support the compromise proposals. I understand the concerns of the United States over the security of its servicemen who are posted abroad, but we believe that those concerns are misplaced. Britain also has a large number of servicemen in posts abroad and we and other major NATO allies are satisfied that the safeguards built in to the International Criminal Court will protect our servicemen against malicious or politically motivated prosecution. In particular, it is a clearly established principle of the court that it will be able to prosecute only when there is no remedy in national law. We are confident that we can demonstrate that there is a remedy in British and, for that matter, in United States justice for accusations made in good faith against our servicemen. The screening of cases by the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court will provide a safeguard against accusations brought in bad faith. We will continue to seek, through close dialogue with our United States partners, to bring them on board for this improvement to international justice which has gained such overwhelming support from the rest of the international community.
"Later this year the world will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There can be no more fitting way for us to mark that anniversary than by this agreement which, for the first time, creates an international court to enforce the most fundamental of those rights. I hope that it will secure support in this House as overwhelmingly as it has already done in the international community".
Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I congratulate Her Majesty's Government on bringing the negotiations in Rome to a successful conclusion. In doing so, they have increased my already considerable admiration for the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer of Sandwell. Many
I am also very pleased for the noble and learned Lord, Lord Shawcross, who began this campaign when he was Attorney-General at the time of the Nuremberg trials. That it has at last reached fruition must give him enormous satisfaction.
There are many aspects of this agreement that represent a remarkable achievement. The Minister has referred to some of them. In particular, I emphasise the fact that the agreement will apply to internal conflicts. So many of the modern conflicts in which atrocities are committed are internal. That the law will now apply to such conflicts represents a massive advance. Those states which have signed up to this aspect of the agreement are to be warmly congratulated. I know that the United Kingdom negotiators played a leading part in that.
It is also extremely good news that the prosecutor in proceedings before the court will act entirely independently of the influence of individual states. There was a fear earlier that no prosecution could be initiated without the permission of the state on whose territory the alleged atrocity was committed or by whose nationals the atrocity was alleged to have been committed. It is a great achievement to have got round that problem.
It is also a great achievement to have put in plan a pre-trial inquiry to wash out of the system any bogus allegations. I had hoped that this pre-trial inquiry would have been sufficient to allay the fears of the United States. We all regret that that country is not participating in this.
There is, however, one immense drawback and one matter which will need the most careful consideration by Her Majesty's Government over the next few years. The drawback is that there is a seven year prohibition on the instigation of any prosecution for war crimes. The great strength of the Nuremburg trial was the fact that it caught the big fish; it did not just catch the "bit part players". That is what gave the Nuremburg process its real credibility. That is what enabled Germany to reconcile itself to what happened during the war.
The great failure of the War Crimes Tribunal in Bosnia is that the big fish have not been caught. The feelings in that country are as bitter as ever about what happened. Unless the big fish can be caught in a country where these awful crimes have been committed, the major object of an international court against war crimes--which is to reconcile the victims to the awfulness of what has happened to them--will never be achieved. The failure to arraign Mr. Milosevic for what has happened on the former territory of Yugoslavia is perhaps the chief reason that there are still tensions in that area. Until we can find a way of achieving that, those tensions will continue.
I should like to ask the Minister what plans the Government now have to initiate a series of procedures which will ensure that war criminals and those who commit acts of genocide are brought to justice. Will the Security Council, for example, be given powers to require member states which are hiding or harbouring alleged war criminals to extradite them and bring them to justice? What sort of provisions will be made to ensure that witnesses can come freely to give evidence without fear of the consequences? What guarantees will there be that the trial will be fair and above board? The devil is in the detail and there is much detail to be decided before we can be confident that this new mechanism will work.
I have one final thought and it is this. The work of an international criminal court is inevitably ex post facto. The crimes have already been committed. The main aim of international society must be to prevent those crimes happening in the first place. Sometimes that requires the application of force at the right moment. The great tragedy of the former territory of Yugoslavia is that the Security Council and NATO have not had the courage and the vision to use force at the right time. We now have another opportunity to take that decision at the right time for Kosovo. I hope, following the example of the excellent work Her Majesty's Government have done in establishing an international criminal court, that they will take the lead in this matter as well.
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