Clause 8 — Desertion

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 22nd May 2006.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 4:30 pm, 22nd May 2006

I shall go straight back to the point, Mrs. Heal. I was saying that I agreed with my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington. If military occupation of a foreign country or territory in such circumstances is illegal under international law, we are enshrining illegality in our law, and that is something that we should never do.

Let me make one more point, about the Nuremberg trials. When people said as a defence that they had been acting under orders, although their actions had been deemed illegal under international law, we said that that was not a defence. We said that they had to exercise personal responsibility. Now people are exercising personal responsibility. People like Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith have looked at all the information that has dribbled out. He said that the war was illegal as far as he could see, that Kofi Annan had said it was illegal and that personal responsibility dictated that he should not take part in it.