I understand that the concerns regarding the incorrect use of the Overseas Operations Bill. Victims of torture need to know that their allegations will be taken with the utmost seriousness and that soldiers are not above the law. I had intended to ask about this during the Second Reading debate, but was sadly not chosen to speak. That said, Ministers offered reassurance in response to other members' questions that this Bill will not prevent soldiers from being prosecuted for torture.
The Overseas Operations Bill is designed to give service personnel and veterans the protections needed in prosecution cases. There is a presumption against prosecution over allegations that happened more than 5 years ago. However, the Bill makes clear that there are exemptions to the 5-year principle. If an exceptional case is brought forward, then it will be pursued.
I believe it is right that service personnel are held to the highest standards of behaviour and conduct. This Bill ensures that credible allegations are investigated and pursued where necessary, but also that our Armed Forces will be protected from the vexatious claims and repeated investigations that so many have suffered in recent years.