House of Commons - Explanatory Note
International Criminal Court Bill [Hl] - continued          House of Commons

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149. Schedule 6, which relates to Clause 38, sets out the procedures for the making, variation and discharge of freezing orders. It also provides a power to appoint a receiver, seize property to prevent its removal from the jurisdiction and defines the interaction of freezing orders with existing legislation.

150. A freezing order would prohibit anyone from dealing with property specified in the order, except by methods and under conditions defined in the order itself. If the ICC makes a request, the Secretary of State may direct a person to apply for a freezing order from the High Court. The court must make the order if it is satisfied that the ICC has made a forfeiture order, or has reasonable grounds for believing that a forfeiture order may be made. Anybody affected by the freezing order shall be notified. The schedule also allows for the variation or discharge of the order on the application of a person affected by it, or on conclusion of the relevant ICC proceedings.

151. The schedule also provides for the High Court to appoint a receiver when a freezing order is in force. The receiver would take possession of the specified property and manage it in accordance with the directions of the court. If a freezing order is in force, a constable may seize property specified in the order to prevent its removal from England and Wales or, as the case may be, Northern Ireland.

152. When a freezing order relates to registered land, under the Land Charges Act 1972, the Land Registration Act 1925, Land Registration Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and the Registration of Deeds Act (Northern Ireland) 1970, Paragraphs 7 and 8 set out the appropriate methods of dealing with this land.

153. This Schedule goes on to detail how freezing orders will be enforced when the order relates to a person adjudged to be bankrupt, or a company which is winding up, in England and Wales or Northern Ireland. Paragraph 13 provides protection for insolvency practitioners when they seize or dispose of property which is subject to a freezing order. These provisions are substantially based on the provisions of Part 6 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.


Paragraph 1: Introduction

154. Paragraph 1 sets out the purpose of Schedule 7. The ICC will be responsible for sentencing ICC prisoners. The Statute makes clear that the ICC will determine the sentence after taking into account factors such as time spent in custody on remand and whether multiple offences had been committed. Under Article 110.2 the ICC alone has the right to decide any reduction in the sentence it imposes and Article 105 states that an ICC sentence of imprisonment shall be binding on the States Parties who shall in no case modify it. The provisions in this Schedule therefore disapply those provisions of England and Wales and Northern Ireland law which might otherwise interfere with the power of the ICC to be the body solely responsible for determining the length of detention of the ICC prisoner.

Paragraph 2: Provisions affecting length of sentence

155. Sub-paragraph (1) disapplies provisions in England and Wales in relation to: the meaning of 'month'; deduction from time served of time unlawfully at large; discharge at a weekend or on a holiday; and crediting of periods during which the prisoner is remanded in custody. All these matters would be considered by the ICC itself when sentencing or when making rulings on reductions to the original sentence.

156. For the same reason, sub-paragraph (2) disapplies provisions in Northern Ireland in relation to: remission; discharge at a weekend or holiday; deduction from time served of time whilst the prisoner is unlawfully at large; and deduction from sentence of time served in custody.

Paragraph 3: Provisions relating to early release or release on licence

157. Sub-paragraph (1) disapplies those provisions in England and Wales which allow prisoners to be released: early; on grounds of ill health; temporarily on licence; or on life licence. Sub-paragraph (2) disapplies the equivalent provisions in Northern Ireland. The ICC would be responsible for the date of release and there is no provision in the Statute permitting a State Party to release an ICC prisoner early or temporarily.


158. This Schedule reproduces Articles 6-9 of the Statute with the exceptions of three provisions in Article 8 (war crimes): Articles 8.1, 8.2(b)(xx) and 8.3. Article 8.1 and 8.3 are not relevant to the definition of war crimes in Article 8.2. Article 8.2(b)(xx) will only become operative if the Statute is amended and the earliest such an amendment could be adopted is seven years after the entry into force of the Statute. If new offences were to be added to the Statute in this way, they would not become offences under domestic law without new primary legislation.


159. This schedule lists the provisions of existing legislation which are to be repealed as a consequence of this Bill. The Genocide Act is repealed because its provisions have been subsumed within Part 5 of this Bill. The changes to the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 and Geneva Conventions (Amendment) Act 1995 are explained in the commentary on Clause 70. The changes to the Service Acts are explained in the commentary on Clause 74.


160. There will be two elements of public expenditure as the result of the Bill, both of which will be absorbed within existing resources. The first is the fixed contributions that the UK, as a State Party, will make to the ICC. These costs will be on a sliding scale between States Parties. The financial regulations and rules and the budget of the ICC for the first financial year are still to be negotiated at the Preparatory Commission for the ICC. It is therefore difficult to estimate the UK's contribution but an instructive comparison may be the UK's assessed contribution to the two International Criminal Tribunals which in 2000 was a total of £5.7 million. The second, and unpredictable, element of public expenditure would be the cost of implementing the provisions in the Bill itself, notably: (a) bringing prosecutions under Part 5; (b) co-operation with the ICC; and (c) having ICC prisoners serve their sentence in prisons here. This second element is in the nature of a contingency which is not quantifiable in advance.

161. The Bill is not expected to have any significant impact on manpower levels within the public sector.


162. This Bill will have no regulatory impact.


163. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined in section 1 of that Act). The Right Hon Robin Cook MP, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, has made the following statement:

    "In my view the provisions of the International Criminal Court Bill are compatible with the Convention rights."


164. Clause 82 provides that the provisions of this Bill shall come into force on such dates as the Secretary of State appoints by order.

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Prepared: 21 March 2001