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Earl Attlee: My Lords, the Minister has been very patient this evening. Will Part III of the Manual of Military Law be revised, reprinted and reissued?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, we expect Part III to be revised, we expect it to be reprinted and we expect it to be reissued.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I have listened carefully to the Minister's reassurances and the quotations that she has given from the Secretary of State and the Ministry of Defence to the effect that everything is fine and our Armed Forces are protected. The exchange arising from the fascinating intervention of my noble friend Lord Attlee about the publicity given to changes in military law was not reassuring. We are not sure what steps are being taken to ensure that simple explanations of such changes in the law will be available. They have to be simple, because they have to be interpreted in the heat of stressful situations. There is a yawning lacuna--perhaps lacunae do not yawn; I should say a yawning gap--between the recognition that something fairly substantial has changed and the knowledge and information that should be made available to our fighting forces in the conditions in which they daily find themselves having to making agonisingly difficult decisions. I repeat my objection to the constant claim that there is nothing new in what we are doing. I find the situation worrying. This is not the state in which I had hoped that we would leave the Bill before it passed to another place.

I listened with the greatest respect to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lester, and to the Minister on whether the amendment would provide a better protection or a lower tripwire for commanding officers and superiors. The advice that I have received from Canadian legal authorities, who are deeply involved in trying to make their legislation work--there is no question of them trying to undermine it--is that, although they have found the need for changes to the wording and the wisdom to make them, there is no chink of light or deviation from the intents and purposes of the Rome Statute. They have made

20 Mar 2001 : Column 1330

adjustments to suit their domestic law and conditions with which they feel comfortable. It is extraordinarily difficult to understand the doctrine, to which we have been subjected throughout the passage of the Bill, that we must be made to feel uncomfortable and that the verbatim copying of the Rome Statute into our law is necessary and will provide the best protection. There is room for two opinions on that. We have not two but 200 legal opinions on whether that is right. I suspect that those disputes will continue if and when the Bill passes into law.

My noble friend Lord Lamont mentioned the bombing of the Chinese Embassy. We all agree that it was a genuine mistake, but should such an event happen again--the provisions are not retrospective--and should the Chinese be signatories to the statute, the lingering question is whether they would think that it was a genuine mistake. The issue all along has been whether other parties who may not see things our way or the way of our allies are prepared to go to the independent prosecutor and say, "Whatever the British or Americans say, we think this was a crime". I think--I stand to be corrected--that the Chinese said that the Belgrade embassy bombing was a crime.

That will be the problem in the future. People who are not well motivated and do not see things our way will argue that actions that we would not dream of investigating as crimes were in fact crimes. The whole issue is very questionable and worrying. I do not wish to leave it unchallenged.

My noble friend Lord Waddington shrewdly put his finger on the fact that the Canadian example shows that modifications can be made, regardless of whether their wording or ours raises the threshold or keeps it where it is. In the interests of making the legislation work in our domestic jurisdiction and reassuring our people, the general public and the Armed Forces, some modifications are possible. The Minister has said yet again that they are not possible--or rather, that she does not wish them to take place and that any modifications would somehow reduce the protection for our Armed Forces. Not everyone in the Armed Forces accepts her argument.

In answer to a Question from an MP, the Secretary of State for Defence said that there had been no representations from the Armed Forces about the Bill and that he felt that the protection provided was full and secure. That contradicts the comments that appeared in many newspapers--not inspired by the Conservatives here or in the other place, but apparently coming from the high levels of the military forces--that there were considerable worries that were shared by the Armed Forces of other countries, particularly the United States.

At the end of Third Reading, we are still left with a feeling of considerable unease. For all those reasons, it would be right for me to test the opinion of the House.

5.57 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

20 Mar 2001 : Column 1331

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 105; Not-Contents, 169.

Division No. 2


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Coe, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lindsay, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peel, E.
Plumb, L.
Prior, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saatchi, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Weatherill, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews. B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Ezra, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Grenfell, L.
Guildford, Bp.
Hamwee, B.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hylton, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stern, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Wakefield, Bp.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

20 Mar 2001 : Column 1333

6.8 p.m.

Lord Shore of Stepney had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 7:

    Page 41, line 50, at end insert--

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