§ Mrs. Gillan
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will take steps to ensure the protection of military personnel from prosecution for their activities in both operational and non-operational activities in the proposed International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what measures he has taken and representations he has made to ensure the protection of military personnel and their activities in both operational and non-operational mode from prosecution in the proposed International Criminal Court. 
§ Mr. Hoon
[holding answer 12 February 2001]A principal purpose of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Bill now before Parliament is to ensure that UK service personnel are protected from malicious or ill-founded prosecution by the ICC. The Ministry of Defence has been closely involved with the legislative details to guarantee this.
The Bill has been constructed to achieve this protection by using the principle of complementarity embodied in the ICC statute. Complementarity means that individuals cannot be tried before the ICC if they have been subject to genuine and effective national legal investigation or proceedings. Any allegations of war crimes against UK service personnel would therefore be dealt with by the UK and not by the ICC.
All offences included in the ICC Bill are already reflected in international law, and the armed forces are already bound by them in their conduct of operations.
To preserve the principle of complementarity, it is essential that domestic law allows investigation and, where necessary, prosecution of all offences contained in 91W the ICC statute. The ICC Bill accordingly defines offences exactly as in the ICC statute. To do otherwise, or to exclude service personnel from the provisions of the Bill, would leave them without full protection from malicious or ill-founded allegations and prosecutions.