Clause 3 - Matters to be given particular weight

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 20th October 2020.

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Amendment proposed (14 October): 1, in clause 3, page 2, line 20, leave out

‘(so far as they tend to reduce the person’s culpability or otherwise tend against prosecution)’.—(Mr Kevan Jones.)

This amendment would ensure that, in giving particular weight to the matters in subsection (2), a prosecutor may consider whether any matter tends to reduce or increase culpability, tending against or in favour of prosecution respectively.

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Blackley and Broughton

I remind the Committee that with this we are discussing the following:

Amendment 3, in clause 3, page 2, line 33, at end insert—

‘(bb) the public interest in maintaining public trust in the criminal justice system and upholding the principle of accountability of the Armed Forces;’.

This amendment would ensure that a relevant prosecutor gives particular weight to maintaining public trust in the criminal justice system and upholding the principle of accountability of the Armed Forces.

Amendment 4, in clause 3, page 2, line 33, at end insert—

‘(bc) the nature of the alleged conduct, in particular whether it engaged the obligations of the United Kingdom under Articles 2, 3, 4 or 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights;’.

This amendment would ensure that particular weight is given by a prosecutor where the alleged conduct engages the UK’s obligations under Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, Article 4 (prohibition of slavery and forced labour) or Article 5 (prohibition of arbitrary detention) ECHR.

Amendment 5, in clause 3, page 2, line 33, at end insert—

‘(bd) whether the person had command responsibility for the alleged conduct, and to what extent;’.

This amendment would ensure that particular weight is given by a relevant prosecutor where the person had command responsibility for the alleged conduct.

Amendment 13, in clause 6, page 4, line 13, at end insert—

‘(3A) A service offence is not a “relevant offence” if it is an offence whose prosecution is required under the United Kingdom’s international treaty obligations.’.

This amendment would exclude the prosecution of serious international crimes (such as torture, genocide, crimes against humanity, and certain war crimes) from the limitations otherwise imposed by the Bill.

Amendment 58, in schedule 1, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

‘13A An offence under section 1 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions).

13B An offence under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (torture).’.

This amendment adds to Schedule 1 specific reference to existing domestic offences in relation to torture, genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, in a similar way to the treatment of sexual offences.

Amendment 6, in schedule 1, page 12, line 38, leave out paragraph 17 and insert—

‘17 An offence under Part 5 (Offences under domestic law) of the International Criminal Court Act 2001 as it relates to the law of England and Wales.’.

This amendment would mean that all offences listed in Part 1 of the International Criminal Courts Act 2001 as they related to the law of England and Wales would be excluded offences, without restriction.

Amendment 59, in schedule 1, page 12, line 39, at end insert—

‘(za) an act of genocide under article 6, or’.

This amendment would ensure that acts of genocide are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 60, in schedule 1, page 12, line 40, leave out

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(g)’ and insert

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(a)-(k)’.

This amendment would ensure that crimes against humanity are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 61, in schedule 1,page 12, line 41, leave out from beginning to end of line 2 on page 13 and insert—

‘(b) a war crime within article 8.2(a) (which relates to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions).’.

This amendment would ensure that grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 7, in schedule 1, page 13, line 12, leave out paragraph 20 and insert–

‘20 An offence under Part 5 (Offences under domestic law) of the International Criminal Court Act 2001 as it relates to the law of Northern Ireland.’.

This amendment would mean that all offences listed in Part 1 of the International Criminal Courts Act 2001 as they related to the law of Northern Ireland would be excluded offences, without restriction.

Amendment 62, in schedule 1, page 13, line 13, at end insert—

‘(za) an act of genocide under article 6, or’.

This amendment would ensure that acts of genocide are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 63, in schedule 1, page 13, line 14, leave out

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(g)’ and insert

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(a)-(k)’.

This amendment would ensure that crimes against humanity are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 64, page 13 [Schedule 1], leave out lines 15 to 18 and insert—

‘(b) a war crime within article 8.2(a) (which relates to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions).’.

This amendment would ensure that grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 8, in schedule 1, page 13, line 28, leave out paragraph 23.

This amendment is consequential on amendments 6 and 7.

Amendment 9, in schedule 1, page 14, line 5, leave out paragraphs 27 to 30 and insert—

‘27 An offence under Part 1 (Offences) of the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001.’.

This amendment would mean that all offences listed in Part 1 of the International Criminal Courts Act (Scotland) 2001 would be excluded offences, without restriction.

Amendment 65, in schedule 1, page 14, line 7, at end insert—

‘(za) an act of genocide under article 6, or’.

This amendment would ensure that acts of genocide are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 66, in schedule 1, page 14, line 8, leave out

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(g)’ and insert

‘a crime against humanity within article 7.1(a)-(k)’.

This amendment would ensure that crimes against humanity are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 67, in schedule 1, page 14, leave out lines 9 to 12 and insert—

‘(b) a war crime within article 8.2(a) (which relates to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions).’.

This amendment would ensure that grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions are also excluded from the Bill, alongside sexual offences.

Amendment 12, in clause 15, page 9, line 21, at end insert—

‘subject to subsection (2A).

(2A) Before making regulations under subsection (2), the Secretary of State or Lord Chancellor must lay before Parliament the report of an independent review confirming that the Act is in full compliance with the United Kingdom’s international treaty obligations with respect to the prosecution of war crimes and other crimes committed during overseas operations.

(2B) This Act shall cease to have effect at the end of the period of five years beginning with the day on which it is brought into force, unless the Secretary of State or Lord Chancellor has, not fewer than four years after this Act has come into force, laid before Parliament the report of a further independent review confirming that the Act remains in full compliance with the United Kingdom’s international treaty obligations with respect to the prosecution of war crimes and other crimes committed during overseas operations.’.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

I have nothing further to add, Mr Stringer, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.