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Suppression Of Terrorism (Convention)

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a further statement on the bringing into effect of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend gave the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) on 4th February. Her Majesty's Government will ratify the convention as soon as the necessary legislation has been passed by Parliament.

In view of the difficulties presented by both the Irish constitution and the French Government, what consideration has been given to the Irish Government's idea that the principle of the parallel criminal jurisdiction legislation passed here and in Dublin should be extended to Europe so that terrorists can either be extradited or tried locally?

I have nothing to add to the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the House on 10th February. Reciprocal extra-territorial legislation is in force between Northern Ireland and the Republic. As for discussions in France and Ireland, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will recognise that it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this stage.

May I ask the Government to give no countenance to the suggestion of extending the inherently objectionable principle of extra-territorial jurisdiction?

As the Common Market countries agreed some months ago to do all they can to suppress terrorism, what have they done about Abu Daoud? Have they avoided the matter because it was inconvenient, or are they doing something about it?

This is not a matter for me to comment upon. It is essentially a matter for the French Government. In that connection it should be noted that the convention is not yet in force, and when it enters into force it will be binding only on those States which ratify it.