PFC/ JFF Respond to British Government Amnesty claims

Reports have been published in two London newspapers this morning that the British Government intends to introduce legislation which would restrict prosecutions of their soldiers who served in Northern Ireland and which would apply to all conflict participants.

 If true, this would display utter contempt for all victims and survivors, the Irish Government and, by extension, the Irish people.

It would effectively mean that the British Government is unilaterally tearing up the Stormont House Agreement, brokered and agreed in 2014 by the five main parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly together with the British and Irish Governments, and which includes a binding international agreement between the two Governments.

Of course Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis are, as we have seen, very capable of breaking international agreements.

On the question of amnesties, families have different views but our bottom line is that investigations into legacy cases must be Article 2 compliant, which means investigations must take place that are independent, effective, timely, open to public scrutiny and should involve families. 

Simple ‘desktop’ reviews would not fulfil the British Government’s European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) Article 2 obligations, as was pointed out by the Supreme Court and the Council of Ministers recently in relation to Pat Finucane’s murder.

We will be unable to make a final judgement until we see the small print.

6  May 2021