Offence of unauthorised use

Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 15 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

I am not sure whether this will meet with your agreement, Ms Buck, but it seems to me that, as we debate clause 9 stand part, the Minister might go a little further and discuss how the clause relates to clauses 10, 11 and 12, which are about the authorised uses. The offence is created by clause 9. If that is convenient to the Committee, it might be a sensible way of discussing those clauses.

The Minister is indicating that she is happy to do that.

Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Clause 9 introduces a new criminal offence of the unauthorised use of the cultural emblem, or any other design capable of being mistaken for it. That offence will meet our obligations under the convention, which sets out rules for the emblem’s use. It also requires parties to prosecute or impose sanctions on unauthorised use.

This will be the first time that the UK legally recognises this important symbol. Our policy is to afford the cultural emblem equivalent protection to that afforded the Red Cross and other distinctive emblems under section 6 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. As with the Red Cross, the breadth of the offence reflects the need to protect the potency of the emblem by forbidding its unauthorised use. An offence under this clause will be punishable by a fine. As with prosecutions under clause 3, prosecution under this clause can take place only with the appropriate consent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The position of the Lord Advocate makes a consent provision for Scotland unnecessary.

Clause 10 gives the appropriate national authority the power to give general or specific permission for particular uses of the cultural emblem to be authorised. It also enables the national authority to withdraw permission, for example when it is no longer necessary or appropriate. This will ensure protection for the cultural emblem and allow for urgent authorisation of cultural property, which can display the emblem, as may be required in the event of war or armed conflict. Subsection (2) imposes an additional requirement, as required by the convention, that the distinctive emblem may not be placed on any immovable cultural property unless a copy of the authorisation is displayed.

Clause 11 authorises the use of the cultural emblem for moveable cultural property in the circumstances permitted by the convention and regulations. It authorises the use of the cultural emblem when it is used to identify moveable cultural property and the use of three cultural emblems in a triangle to identify cultural property undergoing protected transportation. Finally, it outlines what is meant by cultural property undergoing protected transportation. That meaning is provided for in the convention. For example, should an armed conflict occur in one part of the United Kingdom, the cultural emblem triangle could be displayed on moveable cultural property during its transportation under special protection to a refuge in an area of the United Kingdom not affected by the armed conflict. That will help to ensure that cultural property is not exposed to damage and destruction during its transportation out of a conflict zone. I hope that clarifies the three clauses—10, 11 and 12 —and that they will stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 9 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 10 to 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 13