International Criminal Court Bill [Lords]

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Mr. Gerald Howarth: The Minister sought to allay our fears by saying that some of the judges will have experience of military law. I have given article 36 a cursory glance, and I see no such reference, although there is a reference to

    ``extensive experience in a professional legal capacity which is of relevance to the judicial work of the Court''.

Is the Minister alluding to that in support of his contention?

Mr. Battle: I cannot claim the eminence of the QCs in this Committee. I can simply read what is in the documents that I receive. I have read—of course, I will be told that it is subject to interpretation—in article 36 that every candidate for election will

    ``Have established competence in relevant areas of international law such as international humanitarian law''.

I thought that international law and international humanitarian law is the law of war, so I include military judges within that. The term is inclusive rather than exclusive.

Mr. Garnier: The Minister may be misleading himself, or may be misusing the English language. When he says military judges, presumably he does not mean generals who are judges, but civilian judges who are experts in military law.

Mr. Battle: Or judges who have served in the services in that capacity, and are therefore experts in such a capacity.

In the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the judges of the tribunal are elected by the General Assembly from a list submitted by the Security Council. Candidates are elected by an absolute majority of General Assembly members, and the qualifications stated in article 36 of the ICC statute are even stronger than those already set down for the tribunal. I hope that that reassures hon. Members.

I think that the amendments would undermine the principle that we are trying to establish. We have had an excellent debate that has probed some key matters, but I hope that the amendments will be withdrawn. If they are not, I shall urge the Committee to resist them.

Mr. Blunt: I listened with interest to the Minister's reply, and I agree that, other than the unfortunate diversion down which we were taken by the hon. Member for Ilford, South, the debate has been excellent.

I wish to make it clear that the statute sat behind the amendment. It was important to debate the contents of the statute and the consequences that it has on the United Kingdom. I am grateful for the Minister's remarks, but I think that he overstated the effect of my amendments when he said that they would provide a massive let-out clause. The amendments do not let anyone out of anything.

        It being One o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

        Adjourned till this day at half-past Four o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Cook, Mr. Frank (Chairman)
Battle, Mr.
Blunt, Mr.
Browne, Mr.
Cranston, Mr.
Day, Mr.
Ellman, Mrs.
Gapes, Mr.
Garnier, Mr.
Gillan, Mrs.
Hendrick, Mr.
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
King, Ms Oona
Lammy, Mr.
Maclennan, Mr.
McNulty, Mr.
Naysmith, Dr.
Worthington, Mr.

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