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Crimes against Humanity

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Ministry of Defence will follow the lead of the US military by training relevant officers serving in at-risk countries in how to identify early warning signals of mass atrocities or genocide, and how to act upon those signals in order effectively to bring such issues to the notice of relevant officers and UK officials.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

All members of the UK Armed Forces and those civilians involved in the conduct of armed conflict receive training in the Law of Armed Conflict.

For military personnel this training takes place during initial training, and it is continually refreshed throughout their career and prior to deployments. Training includes the responsibilities that being in a command role places on individuals. Commanding Officers receive further training on their additional legal responsibilities, and have access to advice from a Service Legal Advisor when deployed.

As part of pre-deployment training all personnel receive cultural briefings relevant to where they are deploying, including the known risks specific to the potential for mass atrocities or genocide. Furthermore, any indications of possible atrocities or genocide that are picked up through the work of the Ministry of Defence and other Departments are passed to the relevant personnel.

All personnel are fully aware of this responsibility to report any warnings of mass atrocities or genocide up through their chain of command.

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