The UK government has embarked on a roadmap of collision with politicians in Belfast and Dublin and has drawn strong criticism from victims and rights groups after revealing details of an effective amnesty for crimes committed during the Problems of Northern Ireland.
Brandon Lewis, secretary for Northern Ireland, confirmed the plan Wednesday, which he had been largely filtered, to legislate to ban all prosecutions related to crimes committed during the 30 years of conflict in the region that ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. All civil actions and investigations related to the problems can also they stop.
Lewis told the House of Commons that prosecutions for crimes typically occurring more than 30 years ago were becoming increasingly difficult and the prosecution process led them to “pain, suffering and disappointment” for families who had lost their lives. so dear.
“We know that the prospect of an end to criminal proceedings will be difficult for some to accept and this is not a position we take lightly…. It is a painful recognition of the reality of where we are,” he said.
Families have spent decades fighting for justice and answers in relation to the deaths of more than 3,600 people during the Troubles. His attempts have been largely futile, despite a political commitment to investigate historic crimes and enforce the rule of law as part of the Stormont House Agreement supports the current government of Northern Ireland.
Earlier this month prosecutors abandoned and the only charges brought for the death of 13 civilians on Bloody Sunday at the hands of British soldiers in Londonderry, also known as Derry, in 1972.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland’s largest political party, said Lewis ’proposals were“ totally unacceptable and would be rejected by everyone in Northern Ireland who defends justice and the rule of law ”. The DUP opposed, he said, the principle of soldiers and police officers treated in the same way as terrorists.
Sinn Féin, a nationalist party and the second largest force in Stormont, described the measures as an “amnesty for British soldiers who went on the road and shot innocent civilians in Derry, Ballymurphy and beyond”.
“It is an act of absolute bad faith on behalf of the British government,” said Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin as she called on Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach of Ireland, to intervene.
Martin said in the Irish parliament that “a unilateral withdrawal from the Stormont House Agreement and the introduction of what amounts to a general amnesty … is not the right way to do it.”
“The British government may be willing to take its position but our position of Irish government, shared with all political parties in the North and all victim groups, remains in line with that of the Stormont House Agreement.”
Grainne Teggart, director of Northern Ireland’s Amnesty International campaign, said London showed a carefree and offensive fear for the victims; grossly rejecting their suffering and the rights to truth, justice and accountability ”.
The condemnation of the victims and their representatives was widespread. Michael O’Hare, whose 12-year-old sister Majella was killed by a British soldier in 1976, said the proposals were an “absolute and unacceptable betrayal”.
Wave Trauma, the largest community victim group in Northern Ireland, sent an open letter to Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister, on 5 July, warning that an amnesty “would not help not reconciliation. It will hide the anguish and bitterness that will bleed in future generations. “
The plans also include a new independent body for the recovery and provision of information on deaths related to serious problems and injuries, as well as a “large oral history initiative,” which will be used to create reports on the circumstances. of the deaths of individuals and of serious injuries.
Lewis argued that these were “more likely to give families a sense of justice through recognition, accountability and reparative means.”