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Lord Chalfont: My Lords, will the Minister agree and, if so, will she underline in the interests of clarity for everyone concerned that our nuclear deterrent now consists entirely of Trident submarines? We have no other nuclear delivery systems. Will she agree that to remove the warheads from those missiles would make the whole Trident system incredible and virtually useless?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord will understand when I say that I support what he has said. I underline that the strategic review was very clear that Trident is the most effective way to guarantee our security and that any signature in relation to the New Agenda will make that less easy to deliver.

Lord Moynihan: My Lords, I welcome the Minister's initial response. Can she go further and agree that defence policies cannot be decided upon by anyone other than the states concerned? Does the Minister agree that resolutions such as the New Agenda Coalition, which could result in members of the international community determining the defence needs of others, risks contradicting the United Nations Charter, which acknowledges the right of all states to

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self-defence? Will she give an assurance that the Government will not allow our defence policies to be decided upon elsewhere?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I can certainly give that assurance. Her Majesty's Government will continue to put the needs and security of this country at the centre of their policy and development.

Suspected War Criminals: Entry into UK

2.47 p.m.

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to prevent suspected war criminals from entering the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, in appropriate cases those convicted or suspected of war crimes may be prevented entering the United Kingdom in accordance with powers in Rule 320 of the Immigration Rules. We are considering the scope for obtaining better information on those who may be war criminals so that those powers can be used to best effect.

Lord Janner of Braunstone: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his Answer. However, I am sure that he will recognise, as the Home Secretary did, that Konrad Kalejs should never have been allowed into this country after the judgment of the United States court against him and after he was deported from the United States and Canada as a war criminal. As my noble friend may recall, the Home Secretary promised an inquiry into how that happened and how it can be prevented in future. Is the inquiry being set up? How will it be constituted and when will it report?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for his questions. I am grateful to him also for the way in which he has raised these issues. An inquiry is being set up and will be looking at the way in which the rules are interpreted. As I am sure that most noble Lords will be aware, the ports warning index had not picked up the fact that Mr Kalejs entered the United Kingdom. We are now reviewing the way in which that index works. We shall review the information currently held about convicted or suspected war criminals and shall consider how best that can be brought up to date. That will, of course, involve obtaining information from other jurisdictions. We shall also consider what standards of evidence are appropriate in deciding whether to exclude someone who may be a war criminal.

Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, as regards suspects who may have entered this country in the past, was it not an omission, after the top Nazis had been tried in Nuremberg, to have no system in the UK until 1991 for trying any suspects who had concealed

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themselves among the many thousands of post-war refugees from eastern Europe whom it was impossible to screen thoroughly at the time?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I agree with much of what the noble Lord said. He is clearly very expert in these matters. We should be grateful to the last administration for putting in place the War Crimes Act. We should be grateful too for the way in which the police service conducted its very thorough investigations following the passing of that legislation.

Lord Merlyn-Rees: My Lords, whose responsibility is it now to make sure that the list of undesirables that is carried by immigration officers is up to date?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it must be for the Immigration Service to ensure that the list is updated. It will mean that we must work closely with other jurisdictions and increase the level of international co-operation in this field so that we can have an effective and active suspects list.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, the Minister's last answer is very welcome. Does he agree that given the creation of the War Crimes Tribunal and now the International Criminal Court, it will become even more important to have international and, in particular, European Union agreement on such matters of commonality when such people appear at our frontiers?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I agree with what the noble Baroness said. That international co-operation is essential. For that reason, the recent Dutch initiative is to be warmly supported and our Government are playing a very active part in that. Such co-operation will be essential for the future if we are to bring to book war criminals and suspected war criminals.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: My Lords, will the Minister accept that there is widespread concern about the way in which the case of Konrad Kalejs was dealt with and, in particular, the evidence that he was interviewed by the police but only to ask him how he had got into the country and when he proposed to leave? At no stage was it ever put to him that he had been deported from the United States because it was believed that he was an officer in one of the worst, nastiest and most vicious extermination squads during the last war. Given that background, will the Minister give us an assurance that the suspect list is now up to date, with characters like Konrad Kalejs included on it, so that if such an individual were to come to our shores again, all the necessary authorities would be notified?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his extensive question and I agree that it is a matter of concern. Clearly, the Government are very concerned. As I said, we must work with our colleagues in other countries to ensure that the suspects list is kept up to date. I know that officials

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here are busy working to ensure that that is the case. No system can be absolutely perfect. Eighty-four million visitors to this country go through our entry regimes every year, 12 million of whom would be checked against that index. We have to conduct an extremely extensive operation. With the best will in the world--and we have that will--we cannot always get it right.

Lord Bridges: My Lords, was the information about Mr Kalejs entered on the Schengen Information System? If so, is not that a strong reason for us to be part of it?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am not clear that I can answer the first question. It is obviously of tremendous importance that we have proper data entries on the index of the ports warning system so that we can properly fulfil our obligations in ensuring that people who are suspected war criminals are effectively brought to book, not just now but also in the future.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, will the Minister answer the supplementary question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Janner, about the inquiry? The Minister acknowledged that there is to be an inquiry, but he did not tell us its terms, who is to be on it and when it will report.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for reminding me of those parts of the question which I have not covered. I shall need to carry out some further research to fully answer the question. I shall be happy to write to my noble friend Lord Janner and place a copy of that correspondence in the Library.

Lord Janner of Braunstone: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his answers. I recognise that during the eight days or so of the holiday period, the British police did not have sufficient opportunity to make proper investigations. However, will my noble friend assure the House that he will do everything possible to encourage the Australians, who have Konrad Kalejs there permanently, and the Latvians, in whose country he was the officer in charge of that horrendous death squad, to take action? Will he assure us that our authorities and our police will do everything that they can to assist such inquiries?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for his questions. I assure him that contact continues with the Latvian authorities, which are expressing increased interest in pooling information from all relevant sources. I assure him also that we have made known to the Australian authorities that the Metropolitan Police Service is willing to share available information which it has on file. We continue to press those matters and shall continue to do so with all the vigour that is necessary.

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