HC Deb 28 February 1997 vol 291 c403W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the revision of the manual of military law of armed conflict currently planned by Her Majesty's Government are part of a concerted NATO revision. [18101]

Mr. Soames

No. However, the authors have been in informal consultations with other nations which are working on similar projects including some NATO countries.

Mr. Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the planned new joint service manual on the law of armed conflict to replace part III of the manual of military law will be published; what consultations will be held on its revision; and if he is prepared to accept representations on it. [18091]

Mr. Soames

A text for a draft joint service manual was prepared some years ago but held in abeyance pending decisions on the ratification by the UK of the additional protocols to the Geneva conventions of 1949. That text is currently being updated to take into account recent developments in the field although no final date can be given as yet for its completion. The draft is being prepared by service officers, assisted by an eminent academic consultant, and the final text will be subject to comment both within the Ministry of Defence and other interested Departments prior to publication. There are no plans for public consultation or comment. Once published, it will be available to the public and subject to regular update and amendment.