Schedule 1 - Excluded offences for the purposes of section 6

Part of Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 27th April 2021.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence) 3:32 pm, 27th April 2021

I rise to propose Government amendments in lieu of Lords amendments 1S to 1U. I should once again like to thank Lord Robertson for his constructive contributions to debates on this issue.

It has always been the case that the measures in the Bill will not leave our service personnel at greater risk of investigation by the International Criminal Court. By adopting the amendments, we are happy to offer further reassurance and put that beyond any doubt. I should like to reassure hon. Members that service personnel and veterans will continue to receive the benefits of the additional protections provided by part 1 of the Bill in respect of historical alleged criminal offences under the law of England and Wales. Including war crimes in schedule 1 of the Bill will have little practical impact on the protection that the Bill affords our armed forces personnel. The Government are therefore delivering on our commitment to protect our service personnel and veterans from the threat of legal proceedings in connection with historical overseas operations many years after the events in question.

We have listened, and we believe that these proposed Government amendments in lieu will satisfy the House of Lords in respect of relevant offences, and they demonstrate our continued commitment to strengthening the rule of law and to maintaining our leading role in upholding the rules-based international system.