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Arms Control And Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL]


 

These notes refer to the Arms Control And Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL]
as introduced in the House of Lords on 14th November 2002 [HL Bill 2]

ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT (INSPECTIONS) BILL [HL]

     


     EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL] as introduced in the House of Lords on 14th November 2002. They have been prepared by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not require any explanation or comment, none is given.

SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND

3.     The Bill concerns the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe signed in Paris on 19 November 1990 ("the CFE Treaty").

4.     The CFE Treaty was implemented, so far as necessary, by the Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Act 1991 ("the 1991 Act"). That Act provided the necessary rights of entry to private land so that international inspection teams could carry out challenge inspections under Section VIII of the Protocol on Inspections to the CFE Treaty.

5.     The CFE Treaty was subsequently amended by the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty signed at Istanbul on 19 November 1999 ("the Agreement on Adaptation"). The CFE Treaty, as amended by the Agreement on Adaptation, provided for enhanced international inspection. In addition to Section VIII inspections mentioned above, rights of entry are now required to implement inspections under Sections VII and IX of the Protocol on Inspections.

    6.     The Bill does two things. Firstly, it amends the 1991 Act so as to provide for these additional necessary rights of entry. Secondly, it confers a power to make furtheramendments to the 1991 Act should they be needed to implement future amendments to the CFE Treaty.

COMMENTARY

Clause 1 and Schedule 1: Further implementation of the CFE Treaty

7.     Clause 1(1) introduces Schedule 1, which makes a number of amendments to the 1991 Act to provide for additional rights of entry.

8.     Paragraph 4(4) of Schedule 1 inserts a new subsection in section 2 of the 1991 Act. That provision will allow the Secretary of State to authorise inspection teams to enter property and conduct inspections under Sections VII and IX of the Protocol on Inspections.

9.     Section VII inspections concern inspections of "declared sites". Declared sites under the CFE Treaty contain matters such as firing ranges, training areas, helicopter airfields, railway loading facilities at which battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles and artillery, combat helicopters, combat aircraft and other military vehicles are permanently or routinely present. Inspections of declared sites, if requested by another State party to the CFE Treaty, cannot be refused. Such inspections are not new to the Agreement on Adaptation. However, the view was taken when drafting the 1991 Act that rights of entry were not required for this type of inspection because the sites in question were wholly or mainly owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence. Since then, the involvement of private companies in the ownership or operation of parts of the sites in question has increased to the extent that it is now appropriate to provide for rights of entry so as to ensure that an inspection could be complied with if requested.

10.     Section IX inspections concern inspections within designated areas. A designated area is a single area within the territory of a State party to the CFE Treaty in respect of which that State party has notified exceeding, on a temporary basis, its territorial ceiling for matters such as battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery and other military vehicles. Inspections within such an area cannot be refused. As the single area in question can be quite large, and is not necessarily limited to military bases, rights of entry are required so that the United Kingdom can fulfil its inspection obligations under Section IX. Section IX inspections are a new type of inspection added by the Agreement on Adaptation.

11.     Nearly all the other amendments provided for in Schedule 1 are consequential on the additional rights of entry set out above. They apply the provisions of sections 2 and 3 of the 1991 Act to Section VII and Section IX inspections as well as to "challenge inspections". All references to challenge inspections need to be omitted and replaced with a more generalised reference covering all three types of inspection. Similarly, all references to "specified area" (which is a term limited to challenge inspections) need to be generalised to refer to the area to be inspected in any kind of inspection. This is done in paragraphs 4(5), (6), (8) and (9) and 5 of Schedule 1. Consequently, specific definitions of "challenge inspection" and "specified area" are no longer needed and are omitted by paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 1.

12.     As sections 2 and 3 of the 1991 Act are no longer confined to challenge inspections, the side-note and heading to section 2 need to be amended to make a more general reference to the three kinds of inspection. This is done by paragraphs 3 and 4(2) of Schedule 1.

13.     As the CFE Treaty, including the Protocol on Inspections, was amended by the Agreement on Adaptation, new definitions of "the Treaty" and "the Protocol" are needed. These are set out in paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 1.

14.     Finally, some drafting amendments are necessary to take account of the fact that the text of the CFE Treaty has been amended. First, the reference in section 1(4) of the 1991 Act to "paragraph 1" is no longer correct. Since it is not necessary either, it has been omitted by paragraph 2(4) of Schedule 1. Second, the text of the CFE Treaty set out in the Schedule to the 1991 Act is no longer accurate. The Schedule and section 1(4) which introduced it are therefore omitted by paragraph 2(5) and paragraph 6 of Schedule 1. The provisions concerning division of an inspection team into sub-teams in section 2(5) of the 1991 Act are now contained in paragraphs 4 and 5 of Section VI to the Protocol. Paragraph 4(7) of Schedule 1 makes this consequential change.

Clause 2 Implementation of future revisions to the CFE Treaty

15.     Clause 2(1) provides that any future amendments to the CFE Treaty relating to inspections that require implementation in the United Kingdom may be given effect by way of Order in Council. This will avoid the need for further primary legislation for that purpose.

Clause 3 Short title, commencement and extant

16.     Clause 3(2) provides that the substantive provisions of the Act will come into force on such day as the Secretary of State appoints by Statutory Instrument. In practice, this will take place when the Government is ready to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation. On signature of the Agreement on Adaptation in Istanbul in 1999, Russia made a commitment in the CFE Final Act and its Annexes to withdraw from Georgia and Moldova. The United Kingdom position on ratification is that this can only be envisaged in the context of compliance by States Parties with agreed Treaty limits and consistent with the commitments contained in the CFE Final Act.

17.     Clause 3(4) provides that the power in section 6(4) of the 1991 Act to extend that Act to certain Overseas Territories will also apply to the amendments and repeals made in this Bill, and to any future amendments made under section 2 to give effect to any further amendments made to the CFE Treaty. The 1991 Act has been extended by Order in Council to the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus. The Government of Gibraltar passed its own Ordinance to give effect to the Act.

Financial Effects of the Bill and Effects on Public Service Manpower

18.     The Bill will entail no additional public expenditure or changes to public service manpower. There are no tax implications.

Regulatory Impact Assessment

19.     The Bill will have no impact on business.

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

20.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The statement has to be made before second reading. On 21st October 2002, the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, the Minister of State for International Trade and Investment, made the following statement:

         "In my view the provisions of the Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL] are compatible with the Convention rights."

     

 
 
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