UK Government admits that it may have issued licences for exports of products to Turkey which ” may contain white phosphorus” . Its use against civilians is a war crime. Question: When is a war crime not a war crime? Answer: when its committed by a NATO country.

Dec 10, 2020 | Uncategorized

UK Government admits that it may have issued licences for the export of products to Turkey which ” may contain white phosphorus” . Its use against civilians is a war crime. Question: When is a war crime not a war crime? Answer: when its committed by a NATO country.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL10687):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 24 November (HL10150) whether they will answer the entirety of the question put, namely what assessment they have made of reports that more than 70 export licences have been issued by the UK for military products sold to Turkey containing white phosphorous over the last two decades. (HL10687)

Tabled on: 25 November 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

Licensing records dating back to 2000 show that the UK has granted a small number of export licences for Turkey for products which it has not be possible to discount they may contain white phosphorus. Each licence application is carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available, including reports from NGOs and in the media. These Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require the Government to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities.

White phosphorus is commonly used in smoke grenades as well as in decoy and countermeasure equipment, for example to protect aircraft against attack, and in signalling flares. These products are in use across NATO armed forces, including British forces, but they must be used in accordance with international humanitarian law. White phosphorus is not a prohibited substance.

Date and time of answer: 10 Dec 2020 at 17:25.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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