Letter from Lord Tordoff to Kate Hoey
Thank you for your letter of 17 May. Sub-Committee
E (Law and Institutions) considered your reply and three new documents,
JUSTPEN 24, 25 and 33, at its meeting on 26 May.
JUSTPEN 24 and 25 concern new draft Articles
on interception. The Committee notes that amended versions of
these Articles appear in JUSTPEN 33, the revised and consolidated
text of the draft Mutual Assistance Convention. I have raised
a number of questions regarding interception in my letter of 6
May and look forward to receiving your reply. In the meantime,
I would be grateful if you could clarify whether the effect of
the proposed definition of a criminal investigation in Article
2a of JUSTPEN 33 is such as to exclude from the scope of the Convention
the activities of the security and intelligence services.
The Introductory Note to JUSTPEN 33 raises the
possibility of a declaration committing the Council to consider
the need for specific data protection provisions in the context
of its future work on a Protocol. You state, in your Explanatory
Memorandum, that the proposed declaration is acceptable but that
there may not be a Protocol. Could you please clarify whether
the Government accepts the need for data protection provisions
and, if so, whether these are to be agreed before the ratification
and entry into force of the Convention?
As JUSTPEN 33 incorporates most of the texts
deposited for scrutiny this year, the Committee has decided to
clear all the documents preceding JUSTPEN 33 with the exception
of JUSTPEN 21 on the lifting of reservations to the 1959 Council
of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance. We note that you are
seeking to clarify the Presidency's intentions as regards JUSTPEN
21. JUSTPEN 33 remains under scrutiny. It may be helpful to indicate
those Articles of particular concern:
Article 9(9) on hearings of an accused
person by video link. The Committee understands that the Government
has not yet decided whether to opt out of this provision.
Article 10a on joint investigation
teams. You have indicated that it may be necessary to re-draft
Articles 11a-14a on interception.
The Committee awaits your response to my letter of 6 May and clarification
of the scope of application of the interception provisions with
regard to the security and intelligence services.
I am copying this letter to the Chairman and
Clerk of the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons.
27 May 1999