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Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, we come now to Amendment No. 5 with which is grouped Amendment No. 6. Both these amendments concern legal matters where I move with caution having been denied the inestimable benefit of a legal training. We are, of course, particularly focusing on Article 31 of the treaty which is given heavy reinforcement and encouragement by the Nice treaty and, therefore, by this Bill. In fact, the Eurojust idea, although it existed before the Nice treaty, was officially recognised and given body and substance at Nice. Here again, as in other areas, a number of developments have occurred subsequent to the Nice treaty and, indeed, subsequent to our Committee discussions on the Bill; notably the emergence of the proposal for the common European arrest warrant, which has been strongly advocated with its proposed 28 possible infringements under
As I understand it, the new principle behind the arrest warrant is that there should be automatic recognition of judicial orders for arrest made in another member state. That is a radical thought and obviously there were initial reservations, particularly in Italy, but I believe that those have been modified. Our own committees of this House had a scrutiny reserve on that idea going forward. However, I understand that that was brushed aside which is a reminder of something we shall debate in more detail in a further amendment; namely, the crucial need for national Parliaments to have a stronger and more adequate involvement in the whole process of decision-making in the EU in relation to all pillars but particularly in relation to pillar three proposals.
I shall not spend much time on this issue at this stage, I merely ask the Minister some questions. It was saidI think before Christmasthat the common arrest warrant idea within the Eurojust framework and the framework of the European judicial networkI frankly never understood the difference between Eurojust and the European judicial networkwould come before Parliament within an extradition Bill. I should like to know what happened to that Bill. Is it on its way? Some of us expected to have seen it by now. When will it appear? Will the 28 infringements that were originally listed in relation to the issue of warrants for arrest remain the same? Does there remain a danger about arrest for and being tried for crimes for which one has already been tried? Is there any test of a case to answer being incorporated into the whole procedure? Those are the questions that arise out of developments since the amendments were first moved and since we first examined the Nice proposals, which carry into being the Eurojust framework.
At the end of such debates one is left with a vague unease about the momentum behind the idea of a Europe-wide judicial system. Over Christmas I read an excellent book by Mr Andrew Roberts comparing Napoleon and Wellington. It was Napoleon's dream to have a European systema European code of laws and a European judiciary. Noble Lords will probably regard it as a fair comment to say that we should follow those ideas with caution. We were not aware that they had won but it appears that they are winning now. The amendment is intended to seek some answers to those questions. I beg to move.
Lord Waddington: My Lords, in time we will be able to consider legislation dealing with the question of a European arrest warrant. I have one important question to put to the Minister: does acceptance of Title VI, as amendedthat is, acceptance of Articles 29, 30 and 31mean that we are accepting in principle the idea of extradition from this country for offences that are unknown in this country? I pose my question
When I have previously mentioned xenophobia, the Minister has more or less accused me of having an obsession with it. I see that she is certainly not now willing to give that impression. I merely mention xenophobia as an exampleit is the simplest example. One has to look no further than Article 29, which refers to an offence of racism or xenophobia or acts that, under the law of other countries, amount to an offence of racism and xenophobia.
I repeat my question: how can we accept those articles, as amended, with an easy conscience when they have that effect? Surely it is wholly unacceptable that we should commit ourselves to facilitating the extradition of British citizens from this country to face charges that relate to offences that are entirely unknown in this country and which we have never thought proper to stigmatise as criminal conduct. That is our objection to the European arrest warrant, which we shall be able to express even more forcefully when the legislation comes before the House. My point is that we are dealing with the principle of that issue here and now. That is why we should express our opposition to the amendments to Article 29.
Lord Maclennan of Rogart: My Lords, I shall not detain the House for long. I invite the Minister to comment on Article 31. It must be recognised that the third pillar arrangements do not call for great anxiety in so far as they remain matters that can be subject to national decision-making. Article 31 refers to common action on judicial co-operation in criminal matters. In particular, it refers to the progressive adoption of measures establishing minimum rules relating to the constituent elements of criminal acts and to penalties in the fields of organised crime, terrorism and illicit drug trafficking.
I have to admit that I find it difficult to understand the purpose of that provision. It is clearly desirable that there should be co-operation in the prosecution of cross-border crimes and of organised crimes in particular. Determining the minimum rules that will apply seems very vague. I doubt whether it should affect or influence our own law-making in those spheres. Is itwas itthe concern of Ministers in reaching the agreement that there were lacunae in the criminal law of individual member countries, or that the standards of law were in some ways inadequate and Ministers were seeking subsequently to replace those standards with other common standards?
I understand entirely the desire to expedite judicial processes and to remove conflicts about where jurisdictions are but, as to the substantive law and the amendment of that law, I am a little unclear about what were the objectives of the treaty.
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