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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I totally agree. The original aim to which the noble Lord referred is a noble one, though it is rather distressing to call it a noble ambition that children should be able to look to the certainty of primary education. However, the noble Lord is quite right; it must be assistance by way of education and good governance and we must remind ourselves that we are living in an IT age where primary education will form a less important component.

When the noble Lord speaks of education and good governance he is quite right. But I can think of a number of western countries where non-corrupt good governance is of fairly recent origin.

The Lord Bishop of Guildford: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord's repetition of the Statement is enormously welcome among those who work in NGOs and civil society organisations. I chair the board of Christian Aid. I am sure that there will be huge welcome for what has been said about Africa in particular.

I know that in Africa there will be many who would have liked a higher level of commitment of resources to the problems. But most people will welcome the Statement for what it represents in terms of engagement with the issues. I want to stress that and to ask a question with regard to the Middle East. I know that that is a fractious issue at the moment, but the Statement, even in its brevity, seems to commit the G8 to engagement with the issues, including the United States' leadership. That surely is the most significant part.

Would the noble and learned Lord like to comment on the fact that for millions of Palestinian people—who have lived with poverty, oppression and the denial of their rights, as they see it, for a long time—it is difficult to connect with a policy which seems to have been framed in terms of "who we will not talk with" rather than in terms of addressing how we might resolve some of those issues?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is right in both approaches.

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Engagement with the issues is critical. We are fortunate in this country that, because of our history over the past century, we have a knowledge of those parts of the world that we were formerly engaged with in a non-co-operative sense. We have the historical traditions which enable us to offer real engagement with the issues. This is not a party political point at all. I believe that we in this country should rejoice that it is significantly as a result of our initiatives that we shall be engaged in the tasks which have been mentioned.

It is true that many Palestinians feel that they have been left behind and left out. I reiterate what the Prime Minister said and what the meeting at Seville agreed on. There are the two ambitions for the state of Israel and the state of Palestine. Our Government's efforts are entirely devoted to trying to assist both objectives to become realities. But I cannot pretend for a moment—it would be idle to do so—that there is any solution immediately on the horizon.

Lord Richard: My Lords, the summit has obviously gone extremely well so far as concerns Africa. The Prime Minister and the Government deserve a great deal of credit for that.

I turn to Bosnia. Did the Government—the Prime Minister—get any indication from the United States at the summit that it would take this somewhat abrupt position in the Security Council? Did we have any indication at all, for example, that the Americans were claiming total immunity for their people from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court? Did we have any indication that they are prepared to bring UN peacekeeping operations to a standstill in order to assert that immunity? If they did give such indication I should be interested to hear about it; if they did not, I am afraid that I should also be interested to hear about that.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, we knew, obviously— it has been not least a matter of public record—of the United States' serious reservations about the International Criminal Court. If I remember rightly, there were proposals—how far they got I am not entirely certain—that legislation should be introduced. Certainly, at least two senators and several congressmen were interested in introducing legislation into the United States' Congress which would have fairly dramatic consequences for the ICC. What has happened is that the United Nations' mission in Bosnia and Herzegovnia has been rolled over—not for very long; it was a 72 hours extension, until 3rd July. I can assure my noble friend Lord Richard and the House that we are urgently trying to look for a solution that meets all our needs.

The United States has been making a contribution in Bosnia. Of the 18,000 SFOR troops, 2,500 are US troops. The noble Lord is quite right, there is a difference of view, of emphasis and of nuance in our respective approaches to the International Criminal Court. The British Government believe that those concerns are not properly founded for the reasons given, among others, by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams.

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I personally suggest respectfully to my American friends—some of whom are lawyers—that they have mistaken what the statute means. But we have made our position perfectly plain. We have signed and ratified. We had an interesting debate in the Chamber. A large number of states have now ratified. But I stress that the statute allows complementarity, and, indeed, insists upon it.

Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill

5.6 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 3 [Judicial Appointments Commission]:

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 5:

    Page 2, line 32, leave out "five" and insert "six"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment seeks to change the balance in the make-up of the Judicial Appointments Commission from a majority of lay people to a majority of the judiciary. There will be, I understand—I have done this count several times because there was a certain amount of confusion in Committee—13 people on the commission. It is to be chaired by the Lord Chief Justice. I am assured that barristers and solicitors are not to be considered part of the judiciary. I see the noble Lord, Lord Desai, disagrees with my numbers.

Lord Desai: My Lords, I am sorry, I thought that Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 had to be withdrawn before the noble Lord could move Amendment No. 5. Is the noble Lord moving Amendment No. 5?

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, as I understand it, I am moving Amendment No. 5.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, is quite right. We disposed of the other amendments earlier.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord. For a moment I thought that I had lost it—it would not be for the first time—at the Dispatch Box in your Lordships' House.

I go back to my argument. There are to be 13 people on the commission. Without going into the detail again, six will be from the judiciary and seven will be lay people, albeit including a barrister and a solicitor.

Our last debate, I believe, strengthened my case. In that debate all noble Lords, including the Government, agreed that for the past 30 years the most solid and most clearly independent rock in the democratic governance of Northern Ireland has been the judiciary.

That debate decided the relative position, selection and so on of the High Court judges, who, I understand, can also be judges of appeal. It is vitally important that we do everything we can to defend the independence of the judiciary. It is clear that in relation to appointments that is so. A quick reading of the

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"Duties of Commission" on page 30 of the Bill shows that those duties are legal and to a large extent technical. To place those duties on a commission which is a lay commission—the majority of its members lay, with guidance by a minority of judiciary—is illogical.

I move the amendment because the whole logic of the two short debates that have already taken place today is that the judiciary is the finest independent body in the Province. The noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, said in Committee that lay people would bring serious, interesting and good advice to the commission. I entirely agree. But that lay advice and intelligence should not form a majority.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I do not know whether he has misunderstood, but he referred to page 30. He will of course know that that refers to the Law Commission, not to the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I accept that. I beg to move.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: My Lords, I support the amendment. It is even more important than it was about an hour ago, as we have now ensured that the appointment of High Court judges, the very core of the judicial process in Northern Ireland, will be a matter for the commission. It is therefore inappropriate that we should legislate to provide that the majority within the commission will be members of the laity.

There has been a tradition for senior judicial appointments in Northern Ireland. I hope that the Government are not going to take us through Report by pulling in a little bit of what happens in Scotland; including another little bit of what happens in England and Wales; but discarding a little bit of what has traditionally happened in Northern Ireland, while adhering to other arguments pertaining to different factors. In Committee, I discovered little consistency in or justification for the arguments used by the Government for aspects of the Bill.

I must ask a question that I shall consistently ask today and until I receive an answer: does consideration of such external pressures mean that we cannot have a majority of those who are best qualified—some might say, those who alone are qualified—to make a judgment on the appointment of High Court judges and others in Northern Ireland? The change that we seek is not huge; we ask only for one further judicially qualified person to be substituted for one lay person. That is a reasonable request. It would restore the previous balance, albeit under a different form, for appointing High Court judges.

Perhaps I put too fine a point on it when asking the question about external pressures; perhaps I should press the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal and the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, on what pressures and considerations feature in consultation with either the judiciary or members of the government in the Irish Republic.

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If there were a majority of judicial members on the commission, I should have a great deal more confidence in its professionalism and integrity, which can be, and over 30 very difficult years has been, measured. I support the amendment. If one deputy county court judge were added to the judicial members, that would satisfy most of us that matters were being deal with in a transparent manner.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: My Lords, without voicing the slightest criticism, of course, I am slightly surprised that Amendment No. 5 has not been grouped with Amendment No. 6. The arguments for the one are inextricably linked with those for the other. I therefore propose to make a speech that may be out of order; I shall now be told that it is.

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