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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): We are currently studying the report by the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux in which this recommendation features and will make known our response in due course.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The draft European Union Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters contains provisions to facilitate co-operation on interception of communications. It does not contain any provisions about encryption, nor does it place any obligations on Internet service providers to maintain an interception capability.
Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, all providers of publicly available communications services in the United Kingdom will be required to maintain a reasonable intercept capability. The Bill will also give the authorities powers to access the means to understand protected material, which in some cases could mean a decryption key.
In the domestic law of England and Wales, the Regulations for the Trial of War Criminals attached to the still extant Royal Warrant of 14 June 1945 define a war crime as "a violation of the laws and usages of war committed during any war in which His Majesty has been or may be engaged at any time since the 2nd September 1939". War crimes include grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and their First Additional Protocol, which are punishable as criminal offences in the United Kingdom under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. The War Crimes Act 1991 provides for the prosecution of offences of murder, manslaughter or culpable homicide in Germany or under German occupation during the Second World War, where the offences "constituted a violation of the laws and customs of war" (Section 1).
The position under international law is complex, but the International Criminal Court, the statute for which was agreed at a United Nations conference in July 1998, will have jurisdiction to try war crimes. Such crimes are now defined for the purposes of the Court's jurisdiction in article 8 of the statute. The Government will during the current session of Parliament publish for public consultation a draft Bill implementing the United Kingdom's obligations under the statute.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Prisoners at Blakenhurst and many other prisons complete an application for a request/complaint form to ensure a proper audit trail and monitoring of responses. It also provides an opportunity for wing staff to offer to resolve the matter immediately if possible. The Prison Service request/complaint procedures are currently under review, and this will include proposals to ensure all prisoners have unimpeded access to the requests/complaints system.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Under the request/ complaint procedures, prisoners have a right of appeal against local decisions to the Prison Service area manager and these are dealt with at Prison Service headquarters. Prisoners at Blakenhurst may also appeal to the chief executive of UKDS, the contractor that manages the prison. These are not answered by the same person who dealt with the original complaint, although I am aware of an isolated instance in which this did happen in the absence of the chief executive and the director of the prison. UKDS assures me it has taken steps to ensure this will not happen again.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Promoting the benefits of our diverse society is a powerful means of tackling racism and is central to our policy on work in this area. We support many initiatives which provide ethnic minority communities with the opportunity to celebrate and share their culture with the wider community. One of the aims of my department's new grant programme Connecting Communities is to support race equality initiatives which publicise and celebrate the achievements and worth of ethnic minority communities and individuals and the positive contribution they make to society. We are consulting about these proposals at present.
A major event in 2001 will be the United Nations World Conference on Racism which is due to take place in South Africa in July. We are currently involved in the planning for this. The agenda has not yet been set but we will wish to ensure that promoting the benefits of multiculturalism is a key theme for the agenda.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): In December 1999, the Department for International Development invited proposals from UK based institutions and individuals for new ways of detecting and clearing landmines under the Mine Action Research Programme. Bids are currently being assessed and an announcement on whether any can be supported is expected in April.
Also, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency is examining which mine detecting technologies would be suitable for humanitarian demining. This work may lead to programmes such as a low cost portable mine detector.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The number of major exhibits owned by the National Army Museum which are on loan to the Museum of Army Transport is 135, of which 119 can be categorised as vehicles or
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The vehicles owned by the National Army Museum which are displayed at the Museum of Army Transport are of historical significance as they document the history of Army transport from approximately 1900 to the present day and a number are unique survivors of their type.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The council of the National Army Museum is currently engaged in a strategic review of the museum's requirements over the coming four years which will include all parts of its collection, including the collection currently housed at the Museum of Army Transport in Beverley.
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