International Criminal Court Bill [H.L.]
Baroness Park of Monmouth (Conservative)
My Lords, I want to make only three very brief comments in support of this group of amendments. The first is that, like it or not, civilians are part of a total war. In the last war, we had to bomb Berlin; they bombed us. People were proud to be part of the war, part of the front line. If we had not bombed--I am sorry to say--the Ruhr, I doubt whether we should have been able to invade the Continent and liberate it. We needed to destroy the arms which were being built there. That is the first point.
The second matter is that the word "intentionally" is very subjective. It seems to me that many people, like members of the IRA, would come back and create any number of "Bloody Sundays" without anyone being able very easily to prove whether something done had been intentionally or not.
If one looks at the UN and its record of activity, in general, the UN troops are quite hopeless at policing any sort of active conflict because they are inhibited in how they respond to attack. We would be doing that to our troops. What on earth would be the rules of engagement if the MoD had to flog through this and wonder whether or not the rules of engagement would be protecting them and protecting the people?
It seems to me that we would completely inhibit the ability of our troops not only in a serious fighting war but even in the matter of the so-called Petersberg tasks and humanitarian events. One has only to look at what is now happening on the border of Macedonia to see that troops need to have absolutely clear rights to defend themselves. If we come back to the word "intentionally", it all hangs on whether the other side says that you intentionally shot them before they shot you.