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The fourth reason that we cannot agree to the amendment is that were such ICC crimes ever to be committed in the future, they would be investigated and prosecuted by the appropriate domestic authorities. As a result, the ICC would not have jurisdiction. I respectfully suggest that although the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, wishes to conflate the situation in Northern Ireland with those in other parts of the world, it is important to remember that the early release of prisoners is not an amnesty. There has been no amnesty for prisoners released under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act. All such people have had to serve a minimum period in custody prior to release. Moreover, no outstanding prosecutions have been dropped.
Fifthly, in so far as the noble Lord wishes to raise the hypothetical argument that the ICC would wish to have jurisdiction over war criminals in another country who have been released on licence under a peace agreement, I respectfully suggest that he might with advantage glance at paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the ICC Statute. That makes it clear that there are very limited circumstances in which the ICC could try someone who has already been tried,
I turn to Amendment No. 6. I regret that I cannot accept that amendment either. The import of the noble Lord's suggestion was that we should not surrender to the ICC any national of a state that is not a party to the ICC, however appalling the crimes he may have committed. That is contrary to Article 12 of the Rome Statute, which states that the court may exercise its jurisdiction if either the state of nationality of the accused or the state on whose territory the crime was alleged to have been committed is a party to the court. The statute also provides that a non-party state can consent to the ICC's investigating a crime on its territory or that of its nationals. The ICC will therefore have jurisdiction over citizens of a country that has not ratified the statute only where they have committed their crimes on the territory of the state party, where the non-party state in question has given its consent or where the Security Council has referred to the court a threat to international peace and security.
The noble Lord asked about paragraph 3 of Article 12. The short answer is that a non-state party will not be able to refer cases to the ICC. The ICC Statute will enable the court to investigate crimes committed by rogue states on the territories of state parties. To take an historical example, it would have dealt with war crimes alleged during the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq if Iraq were a state party, which we might safely
It seemed to me that the noble Baroness's reference to international peace and the UN does not deal with the situation of a civil war. I can imagine several situations in several countries where it would be better were an amnesty to be announced and the past forgotten in order to end a conflict. I can think of the very obvious example of Colombia. The most terrible things are happening in Colombia and yet negotiations are taking place between two groups of people. The most terrible crimes have been committed on at least two sides, if not on three sides. Would it not be much better if there were an amnesty and the conflict were ended? No good would come from outside agencies deciding to intervene; deciding to haul people before some international court.
I accept some of the points which the noble Baroness made about my amendment relating to Northern Ireland. The noble Baroness can play with words and she can say that things mean what she wants them to mean. She shakes her head but she has no justification in logic. The fact is that in the name of politics we have set aside the due process of law in order to achieve a political settlement. We are so high and mighty that we think we can deny that to other countries but we do it to ourselves. That is the flaw in this whole international court: its inflexibility will apply only to the weak, to the small. When it comes to the large and powerful country, it will not apply to them. As the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, said the other day, the defendants brought before the ICC will be,
When we want the court to be flexible, when it has to be flexible, it will be made flexible. But when there are little countries to be bullied and we can go round meddling in the name of justice, with support from the NGOs, then we shall interfere anywhere, even that means that a civil war will last longer and lives will be lost as a result.
I am afraid that I was totally unpersuaded by the noble Baroness's attempt to say that what has happened in Northern Ireland does not fall within the definition of genocide. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group plainly falls within that definition.
Lord Lamont of Lerwick: My Lords, I fear that that is unrealistic. The financial gain that is at stake in Colombia is so immense that I fear that that is wishful thinking. I disagree with the point which the noble Lord is making and has made before; namely, that somehow the ICC will deter things that have happened in the past from happening in the future. I see no reason why that should be the case. It may be that a few dictators will travel rather less than they have travelled before but they will be less likely to stand down. We shall not find Fidel Castro taking a country house in Andalucia, which might be the best of all possible worlds.
Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.