International Criminal Court Bill [H.L.]
Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Conservative)
My Lords, I want briefly to support my noble friend on the Front Bench. I appreciate the good intentions behind the Bill. I do not in any way decry them but, as I indicated on other occasions, I have a number of anxieties about the Bill.
There was something missing in the contributions of the two noble Lords who spoke against my noble friend's amendment; there was not a single mention of the United States. We are told that all our European partners, other than France, will ratify the statute and pass legislation immediately. But of course the other European countries are not really greatly engaged in peacekeeping.
Surely, the important point is that the United States, which is involved in many more significant peacekeeping operations, has made it clear that it will not participate in the court. I do not know of a single Senator in the United States who has urged the ratification of the legislation. Even President Clinton, when he ratified the statute in the dying days of his presidency, said that the statute required amendment. He did not recommend to the Senate of the United States that it should ratify the legislation in its present form.
I make that point because noble Lords who have spoken hitherto sought to imply that the fears which my noble friend on the Front Bench expressed about the security of our Armed Forces are all unreal. But they are precisely the grounds on which there is very strong opposition to the court in the United States. We are sitting here solemnly discussing the issue and want to ratify and establish a court of which Iran is a supporter but not the United States. Is not that an utterly unreal situation?