On the 23rd of October 2009 the Montesquieu Institute Maastricht hosted a conference on parliamentary involvement with military missions. Even where it does not concern the actual waging of war, sending troops on military missions abroad is never undertaken lightly. No matter how many safeguards are put in place, it remains a decision that potentially risks the lives of men and women in the armed forces.
When lives are so directly influenced by political decision making, the question arises what should be the role of the prime representatives of the people: (members of) parliaments. On the one hand parliamentary involvement seems a logical consequence of the gravity of this kind of decision. On the other hand, the decision making process should not be unnecessarily delayed.
During the conference the pros and cons of parliamentary involvement were addressed by a group of experts, both scholars and (former) politicians, from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly these contributions, evidence of deeply-rooted differences in political and constitutional culture, prompted lively debates.
Chapter 1 Parliaments and Military Missions: Introduction
Chapter 2 Parliamentary War Powers around the World: An Overview
1 Preliminary Remarks
2 Patterns of Parliamentary Control
Chapter 3 Parliamentary Involvement in the Netherlands’ Military Operations Abroad
2 Preliminary Remarks
2.1 Information from Government to Parliament
2.2 Constitutional Framework for the Armed Forces
3 International Deployment: Maintenance of International Legal Order
3.1 Parliament’s Right to Consent?
3.2 Article 100
3.3 Exception Clause: Compelling Reasons
3.4 Scope of Article 100
3.5 Assessment Framework
4 Defence & Protection of Vital Interests
5 Special Operations
5.1 Article 100(2): Exemption Clause in Case of Peace (Support) Operations
6 Central Issues
6.1 Article 100: ‘Decision’ or Intent?
6.2 Amalgamation of Constitutional Purposes
6.3 A Right to Consent for every International Deployment?
Chapter 4 Parliamentary Control in Germany
1 Introduction: Enhancing the Role of Parliament in a Globalized World
2 The Concept of a ‘Parliamentary Army’
3 The Principle of Democracy as Basis for Prior Parliamentary Approval
4 When is Mandatory Parliamentary Approval Legally Required?
4.1 Deployment under Security Council Resolutions
4.2 Deployment in Integrated NATO Procedures
5 Inadequate Restriction on the Government’s Capability to Act in Foreign Affairs?
6 Democracy and Parliament in Foreign Affairs
6.1 Parliamentary Approval as Compensation for Extensive Executive Powers in Relation to ‘Treaties on Wheels’
6.2 The Democratic Basis of Parliamentary Approval as a Limit to Integration
7 Conclusion: The Limiting Effect of Parliamentary Control
Chapter 5 The House of Commons and Military Missions: Constitutional Progress of More of the Same?
2 The Prerogative Power to Deploy Troops
3 International Law before the House of Commons
4 International Law before UK Courts
5 Reform Debate