HL Deb 09 April 2001 vol 624 cc144-5WA
Earl Attlee

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether Part III of the Manual of Military Law, referred to during the passage of the International Criminal Court Bill on 8 March and 20 March (H.L. Deb., cols. 367 and 1321), is scaled for issue to units and sub-units of the British Army; and, if not, when it ceased to be so scaled; and [HL1347]

Further to the answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 20 March (H.L. Deb., col. 367), when the revised Part III of the Manual of Military Law will be (a) reprinted, (b) reissued and (c) accessible to all members of the Army. [HL1505]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

TheManual of Military Law, Part III (MML Pt III) was first published in 1958. MML Pt III is an academic legal text, a reference document for lawyers and a detailed, if dated, commentary on the rules of war. In practice, the incorporation of legal requirement in rules of engagement, courses on international law at all levels at appropriate times and cards setting out main war crimes issued to servicemen going into combat are all more relevant to servicemen than MML Pt III. As such, MML Pt III is only one way in which the law of armed conflict is disseminated in the Army.

There are no plans to reprint MML Pt III in its current form but it has not been withdrawn from circulation. Copies are still held at unit and formation level and further copies may be requested from the Central Services Establishment, Llangennech.

MML Pt III is being completely rewritten as a Joint Service Publication (JSP 383) and will therefore cover the law of armed conflict applicable to land, sea and air operations. A timetable for publication and distribution has not yet been fixed as draft texts are still being considered.