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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I can go further than that in disagreeing with the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain. It is not just that there is an analogy between these obligations which a director has to his own employees; this formulation is exactly that which is used in Section 115 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. It is not new. The wording is the same as has been in force for eight years. It has not caused any of the problems to the Institute of Directors or anyone else that the noble Baronesses, Lady Anelay and Lady O'Cathain, seem to think it might cause.
The fact that we are using the exact wording used in 1992 means that it was dangerous to change the wording because it might be assumed that we were implying something different, which we certainly are not. The word "neglect" is perfectly clear. There is not a significant difference between "neglect" and "negligence". Neglect means that, if someone fails to do something that he ought to have done, he has been careless. It is clear enough that directors must exercise their management responsibilities in a way that ensures that all data are kept confidential. It would be impossible to define all of their duties because all companies are different. The roles of individual officers in a company will also vary. All disclosures will happen in different circumstances. The expression
Finally, I was interested to hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, had to say on Amendment No. 15. I was not clear whether she meant that it should apply to non-executive directors or shadow directors. If she does, all I can say is that it ought to apply to non-executive directors because non-executive directors share a responsibility for the activities of their company. "Shadow directors" is a concept used in company law for people who are not directors, and do not purport to be directors, but are listened to by the real directors. Under certain circumstances in other cases they can be liable and they ought to be liable here.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the Minister, particularly for his final words about the Government's views as to who should be caught within the remit of Clause 4. I think that that takes us forward in a helpful way, which was not achieved in another place. I still have some concerns about the Government's attitude towards the definitions of "neglect" and "negligence", but I think that is to be resolved on another occasion. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, five years ago this month, the "safe area" of Srebrenica fell to Serbian forces and over 7,000 men and boys were massacred. The year before, 800,000 people were slaughtered in the Rwanda genocide, again under the noses of UN troops, who were ignominiously withdrawn as soon as the killings began. The General Assembly commissioned an assessment of the Srebrenica catastrophe and the Secretary-General announced an independent inquiry into the Rwanda genocide. It is those two investigations that noble Lords are being asked to consider tonight.
The "safe area" policy of April 1993 was decided by the Security Council under Chapter VII, but UNPROFOR was not given the resources or the mandate to implement it. It had to ensure full respect for the safe areas, although it was recognised that, in the absence of Serbian co-operation, additional forces would be needed, including air power. The UK Representative on the Security Council said exactly that in the debate on Resolution 836, but when the Secretariat demanded a further 36,000 ground troops, we opposed the idea. None of the co-sponsors of the
By January 1994, only 3,000 of the authorised troops had arrived and other contingents were kept on hold because their governments could not afford to equip them. No sense of urgency was fostered because the UN was not warned of Serbian intentions by the member states, whose intelligence services did know about them. A bureaucratic command structure was established, with Bosnian operations under their own commander, responsible to a theatre force commander in Zagreb and, through him, to the Secretary-General's special representative, Yasushi Akashi. One is reminded of the comment made by General Cosgrove, the Australian Commander of the UN force in East Timor, that the UN made Australia's defence bureaucracy look shark-like in its efficiency. Perhaps the UN should take him on as a consultant to improve its capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations.
General Janvier, who had been appointed theatre commander in March 1995, was anxious to avoid confrontation with the Serbs. Both he and Akashi tried to water down the concept of the Rapid Reaction Force. Akashi threw his cards away by assuring the war criminal, Karadzic, that the force would operate under the existing peacekeeping rules of engagement.
Srebrenica could not be defended by Dutchbat, a battalion comprising 150 lightly armed men; and they made no attempt to do so. Nor did they return to the Bosniaks weapons that had been confiscated from them so that they could defend themselves. On several occasions Dutchbat did call for air strikes, but Akashi and Janvier blocked the requests because they considered that it would be perceived as entering the war against the Serbs. They feared Serb reprisals against the peacekeepers.
The Security Council tried to keep the peace where there was no peace to keep. Despite repeated evidence of Serbian aggression and bad faith, the council continued to behave as though ceasefires could be negotiated, humanitarian supplies delivered and the defenders of safe areas could sensibly be disarmed on the basis that UNPROFOR would correctly protect them, when it had neither the capacity nor the intention of doing so. The arms embargo left the Serbs in a position of almost overwhelming military superiority and deprived Bosnia of its right under the charter to self-defence. As the report states:
When there is no consensus on the response to active military conflicts, peacekeeping operations used as a substitute for consensus are likely to fail, yet peacekeepers are still being deployed into areas where there is no real ceasefire or peace agreement, as the Indian peacekeepers surrounded by the RUF at
The cardinal lesson of Srebrenica was that a deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorise, expel or murder an entire people must be met decisively with all necessary means. This lesson had to be learned twice in the Balkans, when the international community negotiated with an unscrupulous and murderous regime, now still holding power in Belgrade and still trying to destabilise Montenegro.
In Rwanda, an attempt was made to exterminate an entire people, which was even more clearly signalled in advance. In 1993, the UN Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions drew attention to massacres of Tutsis and said that there was a serious danger of genocide. His report was largely ignored by UN headquarters.
In January 1994, the UN commander in Rwanda, General Dallaire, warned that the Interahamwe were training 1,700 men to kill 1,000 Tutsis in 20 minutes. Opposition deputies and Belgian troops were to be murdered. He asked permission to give the informant protection and to seize the arms which were about to be distributed. Kofi Annan, then head of peacekeeping, refused both requests. Furthermore, he did not brief either the Secretary-General or the Security Council on the contents of the cable from General Dallaire, nor was anything done to follow up the information.
The genocide began in earnest after the plane crash on 7th April at Kigali in which President Habyarimana was killed. As predicted, Belgian soldiers were murdered and the whole Belgian contingent was withdrawn, which was,
In Rwanda we provided grossly inadequate resources and lacked the will or the commitment to stop the genocide. Security Council members, including Britain, were reluctant to admit, in the face of abundant evidence, that a genocide was under way. So a key recommendation of the report was that a UN action plan to prevent genocide should be initiated, providing concrete input to the world conference against racism in 2001.
I should like to ask the Minister whether that plan is being drafted, and will it include alerting the Security Council to reports by the Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions dealing with killings above a certain threshold? How would the plan deal with the situation in eastern DRC, where,
There needs to be a more flexible approach to revising the mandate and force levels when a peace agreement breaks down. In Sierra Leone, the Security Council did agree a substantial increase in UNAMSIL, with a more robust mandate, but still left an incapable government to provide inadequate security forces. Yet again, a fundamental assumption underlying a UN operation turns out to be wrong, and yet we blithely continue to ignore the error.
In the Security Council debate on these reports they were hailed as a new standard of candour. If it is a standard, let every UN peacekeeping operation be subject to audit in the future. That would make the UN accountable, from the Secretary-General downwards, and ensure that warning signs of the type that we saw in the two reports are heeded in future. In any case, the Secretary-General should report periodically on the measures taken on the recommendations in both reports, both to the Security Council and to the Millennium Assembly in September.
The Canadian Foreign Minister said that the best way to honour the victims of the Rwandan genocide was a commitment never to turn away from the civilian victims of armed conflict again. But similar statements were made after the Holocaust, and before that about the Armenian genocide. If the world is really going to protect people threatened with racist violence and murder, states will have to provide the resources, the
On 11th July 1995, just a few months before the end of a three-and-a-half year war, the Bosnian Serb army overran Srebrenica, which had been designated a UN safe area (the same status was given to Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zepa, Bihac and Gorazde). After the horrific slaughter, 8,000 men and boys, anyone who was older than 14 years, were missing. Over 2,500 people have been found in mass graves.
The enclave's inhabitants believed that the presence of 150 Dutch UN peacekeepers and the might of NATO air power would ensure their safety. But Serb forces pushed aside the UN troops and overran Srebrenica with ease. Within 48 hours, the Serbs eliminated the entire population. In the words of a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
The UN report, based on about 100 interviews with a range of international figures involved in Bosnia, singles out the Bosnian Serb political and military leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, as the,
While blame is widely distributed, the UN's examination of its own record in Srebrenica breaks new ground by effectively damning the diplomatic nicety of trying to remain neutral and above the fray in civil conflict:
At the heart of the problem of protecting the safe areas was the refusal of the Security Council members, including the United States, to authorise enough troops to do the job. Boutros Ghali wanted 34,000 troops; the Security Council authorised only 7,400.
There are some 43 lessons identified in the UN report on Rwanda. I shall concentrate in the short time available on lesson 6. It says that member states with specific areas of expertise and capability should contribute troops for those tasks. Emphasis should be placed on capability rather than numbers. Future UN operations will require the right troops with the right equipment.
I am not sure whether I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. The blame cannot be laid solely at the door of the UN Secretary-General. On 25th June 1999, the MoD and the FCO announced that British rapid
In the case of Sierra Leone, we have witnessed a painfully slow build up of the UN force that is supposed to protect the civilians in that African country. UNAMSIL is hardly an effective UN force. Today the UN mission in Sierra Leone is still under-strength, under-armed and ineffective. What is HMG doing to ensure that it does not happen again? It also calls into question the will of the world powers to stop atrocities in distant lands and highlights a basic flaw in UN peace-keeping missions where peace-keepers are deployed where there is no peace to keep.
Sometimes the UN's failure is built into its structure. Where a permanent member of the Security Council opposes intervention no action will be authorised, hence the UN's silence about Russia's war crimes in Chechnya and its early impotence on Kosovo. But in cases where the council approves action it is fair to insist that it be serious. The UN member states need to embrace force to secure peace, brush neutrality aside and denounce evil in order to combat it. As Mr Annan so rightly said, the UN mission to end conflict does not preclude moral judgment; on the contrary, it makes it necessary.
Does the United Nations need a stronger mandate? Sir Alexander Cadogan could not see how the council could work as from the very start Stalin insisted that each of the five must have the right to veto any military action voted on by the council. He told the implacable Russian Foreign Minister, one Mr Gromyko, "Look, you cannot have a system in which anybody can stop any order of council. Do you want a world organisation or not?" Gromyko's message from Stalin was "No".
In October 1999 the Security Council authorised the establishment of UNAMSIL, a new and much larger mission with a maximum of 6,000 military personnel, including 260 military observers, to assist the government and the parties in carrying out the provisions of the Lome peace agreement. In February 2000 the Security Council, by resolution 1289, decided to revise the mandate to include a number of additional tasks. It expanded the military component to 11,100. By resolution 1299 of 19th May 2000 the
Following the report on Srebrenica and the current crisis in Sierra Leone, should the mandate of UNAMSIL peace keeping be changed to peace enforcement? Should the UN be given adequate powers and resources to restore stability and allow a negotiated peace? From a military perspective and with reference to military doctrine, peace keeping does not apply to a situation where there is no peace to keep. The publication Joint Warfare issued in 1998 now forms the basis of much of the UK's doctrine for peace support operations. Has it been applied in Sierra Leone? Have Her Majesty's Government ever consulted that document? Have the lessons of Bosnia been learnt? How far has the debate gone on the change of the UN mandate on Sierra Leone? It seems that the answer is no. The lessons have not been learnt. The latest moves to strengthen the mandate are hardly encouraging.
What is our commitment worth? Do the Government intend to keep their promises? What reasons do HMG give for not properly supporting the UN Sierra Leone mandate? Will Her Majesty's Government support future UN peace keeping operations in full as the Robertson/Cook commitment seems to indicate, or will it renege once again, leaving us to mount another rescue mission?
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for initiating this debate. The noble Lord raises an important and interesting question, and it is perhaps unfortunate that a greater number of noble Lords have not been able to be present to share it with us.
Both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness have rightly outlined the history which led to the tragedies of Srebrenica and Rwanda. The cold-blooded slaughter of defenceless civilians in Srebrenica and Rwanda and the failure of the international community to prevent those slaughters stand as shameful events in recent history. Today we remember those who died and those who lost loved ones during those terrible tragedies. I agree with both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness that we owe it to them and to the vulnerable everywhere to learn from experience and avoid repetition.
The two reports published at the end of last year provide the painful but honest and objective analysis to aid us. The two reports stress the need for terror, murder and persecution to be met with decisive international action. They highlight the need to bring those responsible for such actions to justice and for the
I do not accept the assessment of the noble Baroness of what has been done in Sierra Leone. Britain has played a fundamental part in resisting illegal efforts to topple a legitimate government and in facilitating wider international action. There has been no back-tracking. We undertook to make available troops, including a rapid reaction capacity, and did so. We called upon others worldwide to join our efforts. The reshaping of Britain's Armed Forces following the 1998 Strategic Defence Review transformed our ability to contribute to peace keeping and humanitarian operations, with more and better equipped rapid reaction forces, additional strategic lift and better logistics capabilities. We declared most of those capabilities as potentially available to the UN in the June 1999 UN/UK MOU on peace keeping. These are just the kinds of capabilities that the UN needs. Progress on new defence arrangements in the European Union following the British initiative in autumn 1998 will enable Britain and the EU to contribute more effectively to international peace keeping efforts by enhancing European capabilities and speed of response.
We have also stepped up work on conflict prevention. In practice, this has meant placing human rights at the centre of our foreign policy. We have worked ceaselessly in defence of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core UN human rights instruments. That has meant the enhancement of co-ordination within government to ensure that we can use all the tools at our disposal--military, political and aid--coherently to prevent and manage conflicts. It has meant addressing the root causes of conflicts as well as the more immediate triggers, through support for democratic development and sustainable economic growth. It has also meant supporting the development of democratically accountable security forces which enhance rather than endanger the security and well-being of communities; tightening our own controls on arms export; agreeing a code of conduct with EU partners; and encouraging other states to pursue similarly responsible policies to help to limit the means of waging war.
We have acted where we can to make a difference, but we recognise that we cannot be everywhere or do everything. We have also been working to ensure that others do their part. We continue our efforts to build international consensus around a set of guidelines that would help the council to decide how it should respond to large-scale atrocities. As Kofi Annan has said, the UN Security Council and the United Nations as a
This is a core lesson of the tragedies of Srebrenica and Rwanda which we cannot afford to ignore. At the United Nations we have strongly supported the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Yugoslavia which was set up by the Security Council to bring those responsible for war crimes to justice. We have been in the vanguard of those supporting the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
In the Security Council we have sought to ensure that resolutions mandating peacekeeping missions are as clear as possible and provide for the necessary resources for implementation. I know that noble Lords are interested in the accountability of the United Nations. I should therefore like to take this opportunity to underline that the UK has actively participated in this way, promoting greater transparency in the work of the Security Council.
The UK's priorities have been made clear from Mr Annan's report on peacekeeping operations. We have outlined a number of priorities for the UN Secretary-General's report on peacekeeping operations. Those include an early warning: that the UN needs more effective mechanisms to collate and analyse early warning data and to identify programmes of preventive action. The department of peacekeeping operators in New York needs a chief of staff to draw together the various strands of planning permissions. We should like reports from the Secretary-General to contain more detailed recommendations for UN action. That will help the council to focus and use its time more effectively.
In our view, it is essential that the UN identifies as many measures as possible to speed the planning and deployment of peacekeeping missions.
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