Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:50 pm on 29th November 1999.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Renton Lord Renton Conservative 4:50 pm, 29th November 1999

My Lords, I regret that I was not able to be present at the start of the debate owing to family reasons. However, I believe I should mention that I am one of the few people still living who attended the European Council when the European Convention on Human Rights was being considered. Indeed, I was closeted with M. Rolin, the Belgian lawyer who represented Dr Mossadek at The Hague in order to agree with him--and eventually it was agreed by all concerned--the powers of the European Court of Human Rights.

I feel obliged to mention that at that time--it was just a few years after the war--I do not believe that members of any party in this country gave a moment's thought to the effect of the convention on military discipline. But now we must consider it. I believe that the Government must review the convention and our acceptance of it in order to ensure that military discipline is maintained. Speaking as a lawyer, naturally on occasion there has been--I remember it well during the war in which I served--a conflict or an apparent conflict between discipline and justice. That is very difficult to avoid. But I believe that especially in time of war--and we should be thinking in terms of the application of this Act in time of war--discipline must if necessary prevail over justice.