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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): Within the Northern Ireland Government system no additional civil servants have been recruited for work specifically on the implementation of Section 75. The requirements of Section 75 have been met from within existing staff resources.
Baroness Amos: Implementation of Section 75 is an integral part of the work of the public authorities in Northern Ireland. The cost of this work cannot readily be distinguished and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Whether they have been notified by the International Criminal Court of attempts by any party to bring a case against the United Kingdom Government in respect of the war against Iraq or the occupation of Iraq by British troops. [HL2785]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) wrote to Her Majesty's Ambassador in The Hague on 15 December 2003 forwarding a complaint made by the Athens Bar Association concerning British military operations in Iraq. We have not been notified by the prosecutor of any other petitions received by the ICC.
In accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute (Article 15(2)) the prosecutor asked the Government to provide information on the allegations. The Government have provided a formal reply to the prosecutor which, inter alia, gives the Government's response to the allegations and sets out the UK national procedures for the investigations of such allegations. The Government believe this reply is a convincing refutation of the allegations.
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Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 7 June (WA 1), whether they will publish the statistics to which they have access of Iraqi civilian deaths and injuries. [HL3143]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There are no reliable figures for Iraqi civilian deaths since March 2003. The Iraqi Ministry of Health has informed us that the number of civilians killed in security incidents is 1,203 and 3,992 wounded dating from when statistics began on 5 April 2004. However they reflect only hospital admissions and may not be comprehensive. It is not possible to break these down into how they were killed or who may have been responsible. It includes casualties caused by terrorist action.
Whether they will inquire of the Government of Israel why they are proposing to demolish the houses in settlements, prior to withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, taking account of the shortage of housing for Palestinians. [HL3194]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We would warmly welcome a withdrawal of settlers and the Israeli defence forces from Gaza. We are pleased that Israel is working on plans to do this. It will be key that withdrawal delivers real improvements for the lives of Palestinians. The Israeli Government are beginning planning on the practical details, including what becomes of settlement infrastructure. I hope that my forthcoming visit to Israel will be an opportunity to discuss practical issues of this kind with the Israeli Government.
What restrictions the Spanish Government have applied to tourist boats which visit Gibraltar; what representations they have made to Spain; and whether such restrictions are consistent with Spain's obligations as a member of the European Union. [HL3258]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In April and May, a number of cruise ships were denied entry to Spanish ports, or told that they would be denied entry, if they called at Gibraltar first. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary told the Spanish Foreign Minister, Senor Moratinos, on 20 May that we regarded Spanish interference as unacceptable and illegal. Since 21 May, there have been no incidents that have come to the Government's attention. The
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Foreign Secretary has written to Senor Moratinos to underline the need to avoid any repetition of these actions. We continue to seek a permanent solution to this issue, and have asked the Commission to look into these incidents.
What they have done to publicise the safe return of refugees and asylum seekers to their own countries and communities, so as to counteract any public perception that all asylum seekers and migrants are coming one way. [HL2169]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government recognise that there is scope for us to promote our voluntary and enforced removals activity more than we are doing currently and we are taking various steps to try to achieve this. Given the sensitive nature of removals, we need to exercise caution and consider the safety and well-being of the individuals being removed. However, we are already taking steps to promote some enforced removals by putting some information into the public domain. This includes:
How many applications have been made since the passing of the Extradition Act 2003 for the extradition of persons from the United Kingdom to those countries which are operating the European arrest warrant; and how many of those applications were in respect of British citizens. [HL2739]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Since the Extradition Act came into force on 1 January 2004, there have been 307 applications made to the UK under the European arrest warrant (EAW). Of these 307, 11 are in relation to British nationals.
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How many applications have been made since the passing of the Extradition Act 2003 for the extradition of persons to the United Kingdom from those countries which are operating the European arrest warrant; and what were the nationalities of the persons who were the subjects of those applications. [HL2740]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Since 1 January 2004, the UK has issued 27 European arrest warrants under Part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003. Arising from these, six arrests have been effected which included British, Portuguese and Irish nationals.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Of the accession states who joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia have transposed the European arrest warrant into their respective domestic legislation.
We are currently in the process of designating these states as extradition partners under Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003. The remaining states expect to implement the European arrest warrant in the near future.
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