CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – ICC & BRUNNER – 3 April 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary [Robin Cook] for giving way, and I think that my intervention will not come as a complete surprise to him. I have always supported the principle of what the Government are trying to do with the [International Criminal] Court. However, could the right hon. Gentleman please advise me why –although the former Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Neath (Mr Hain) wrote to me to say that there was a strong possibility that the Government would be making representations to the new Government of Syria on the continued sheltering of the worst Nazi war criminal still at large, Alois Brunner – in February, I was given yet another stonewalling response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saying that nothing had been done and that nothing was going to be done. Will the Foreign Secretary please make those representations?

[Robin Cook: I am not sure that I would accept the hon. Gentleman's characterisation of stonewalling. The issue of Mr Brunner's existence has been raised on many occasions with the Syrian Government, most notably by France, which is the jurisdiction within which he has been convicted. On all occasions, the Syrian Government deny all knowledge of him or suggest that, in so far as they have knowledge, he is dead. If the hon. Gentleman can furnish me with fresh evidence with which I can challenge that assertion by the Syrian Government, I would be very happy to do so.]