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Lord Roper: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord made reference to the fact that a material breach would provide an opportunity for further action, but if I remember rightly there was also discussion in the Security Council of the suggestion that there would have to be a determination by the Security Council that there had been such a material breach.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, the noble Lord is uncharacteristically wrong in his facts. That is because there was, first, a determination by the Security Council itself in Resolution 1441 unanimously that Iraq was in material breach. One sees that in the first operative paragraph of the resolution:

Secondly, and this is very important, it made a predetermination that if, after all these resolutions and after 12 years, Iraq did not now comply with its final opportunity, that would be a further material breach. Operational paragraph 4 decides that,

    "false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution of failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and co-operate fully in the implementation of this Resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations".

Lord Judd: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble and learned friend for giving way. Does he not agree that while what he argues seems absolutely logical in one context, there is a reasonable ground for other members of the United Nations Security Council to say, "Surely we have to agree that the situation is now right to take the action that was envisaged"? That is what the international dispute is about.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, if one examines the very important language used in Resolution 1441, one sees explicitly in operational paragraph 12 this and this only: that in the event that the matter came back to the Security Council which, as we all know, it did on a number of occasions, it was to meet to "consider the situation". That language was deliberate. It was not intended that it was necessary for the Security Council to take a further decision following a further material breach by Iraq. Several members of the council argued for this during the negotiation of 1441, but their proposals to amend the text to require that the council had to decide what action to take at that stage were not accepted.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords—

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, I will give way but I am very conscious of the time. There are other important points I need to deal with and I invite the noble Lord to be as quick as he can.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I will be quick. Will the noble and learned Lord deal with my point that the Government were negotiating for authorisation of

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further force before resolution 1441 was passed? If they were seeking further authorisation, why was that necessary if his argument be correct?

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, it was not necessary. That is the point. What matters is the resolution that was ultimately passed then and there with the determination of an actual material breach, with a final opportunity given to Iraq and with a clear statement that a failure fully to comply or co-operate in any way would constitute a further material breach. There is no doubt—one can look at what was said by Dr Blix, and all the evidence in relation to it—and it was never contested otherwise, that Iraq failed to take that further final opportunity.

Lord Rea: My Lords, perhaps I may make a very brief point.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me, I am anxious to spend a moment or two on a third issue with which I must deal.

My noble friend Lord Judd made the important point that this is not a lawyers' debate but a debate about people. He referred to the response to the difficult challenges that we face. I am grateful for what he said about the heavy responsibility the Government bear—which they do—to protect the citizens of this country against all kinds of threats, but that they should not be dealt with only by the use of force.

Of course that is right. But it is important—and this debate provides the opportunity—to touch on the need for a wider international debate about the question of the use of force by states. It is an important area for discussion and we need to seek a political consensus at international level on the circumstances in which the Security Council should act under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter.

For the first 40 years of its existence the Security Council was constrained by Cold War political realities. A great deal has changed since then and the Security Council's practice has developed considerably. It has acted, for example, in relation to Somalia, eastern Zaire, East Timor, Sierra Leone and, most recently, Haiti.

The Security Council does not authorise in every case and the noble Lord, Lord Jacobs, was right to remind us of the situation in relation to Kosovo. That is why I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, that there are only two circumstances in which force is justified. There is increasing acceptance of the view taken in 1999 that imminent humanitarian crises justify military intervention.

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister made an important contribution to the debate in his Chicago speech in 1999 and he made a further important contribution to it in the Sedgefield speech on 5 March. We welcome the contributions that others have made to the debate—for example, the Canadian-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty—and we very much welcome the establishment by the United Nations Secretary-General of a high-level panel—including the noble

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Lord, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, of this House, although in a personal capacity—which is looking at how the United Nations can improve its response to the broad range of threats to international peace and security, including the circumstances in which the use of force is justified.

I am afraid that I am prevented from dealing at any length with the points made by my noble friend Lord Mitchell and the noble Lord, Lord Jacobs. I simply say this. The Government deplore and have repeatedly condemned the terrorist atrocities committed against Israel and we recognise its right to defend itself against terrorism. But we also say that Israel must act in accordance with international law. That is what lies at the heart of the statements which have been made about the recent targeted killings.

The tragic impact of suicide bombings has been all too clear. Israel is entitled to take steps to ensure its security and safeguard itself against terrorism, but that conflict cannot be solved by military means alone. Ultimately, Israel's security can be achieved only through a just and lasting settlement negotiated between the parties. The road map offers the best opportunity for peace and we now look for both sides to move forward in implementing its obligations.

I am here to answer for the United Kingdom Government, not for anyone else's view. That would be extending my brief a little too far. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, referred to what the United

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States has said; I am not here to answer for it. If one looks at the document, one sees much more than simply a statement about unilateralism.

I conclude with the very wise words of Kofi Annan, who said last September,

    "it is not enough to denounce unilateralism, unless we also face up squarely to the concerns that make some States feel uniquely vulnerable".

Lord Rea: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, may I make the point that I tried to interject while he was in the midst of making an important point? Why was it not possible to allow the United Nations Security Council inspector, Hans Blix, to determine whether there had been a material breach of Resolution 1441? Instead, why was there an attack while he was still only half way through his work?

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, I shall answer the noble Lord's question. If one looks at what Dr Blix said in his reports to the Security Council on 27 January, 14 and 20 February and 6 March, when he issued a 173-page paper detailing unresolved issues, one sees that he did answer that question. His document catalogued Iraqi evasion, deceit, and the feigning of co-operation while in reality pursuing a cynical policy of concealment. Twenty-nine instances of Iraqi failure provide credible evidence and there were at least 17 occasions when inspectors uncovered evidence that contradicted the official Iraqi account. That utterly supports the view, which nobody contested, that Iraq had failed to take the opportunity which the Security Council unanimously had given it.

        House adjourned at twenty-two minutes before nine o'clock.

Written Statements

Wednesday 21 April 2004

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Northern Ireland: Youth Justice Agency

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have placed copies of the Youth Justice Agency's corporate plan for 2004–07 and business plan for 2004–05 in the Libraries of both Houses.

The business plan contains eight key performance targets I have set for the service for 2004–05. These are:

1. Contribute towards the development and publication of an NIO public service agreement target to reduce the reconviction rate for all offenders (compared to a predicted rate for Northern Ireland).

2. During term-time, 95 per cent of children in the Juvenile Justice Centre will receive 20 hours a week of education and training.

3. No escapes from the Juvenile Justice Centre.

4. Over the year no more than 3 per cent of the total new admissions to the Juvenile Justice Centre should be non-accidentally injured.

5. Over the year no more than 2 per cent of the total members of staff should be non-accidentally injured while engaged in the work of the agency.

6. No members of the public should be non-accidentally injured on agency premises.

7. Deliver at least 70 per cent of the planned training days specified in the corporate training priorities plan for 2004–05.

8. Expenditure is within budget allocated.

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