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14th Jul 2021

UK proposals to end all Troubles-related prosecutions to be published today

Clara Kelly

The proposal has been criticised for offering a “de facto amnesty” for veterans and former paramilitaries.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis will publish a proposal on Wednesday to end all Troubles-related prosecutions and deal with the legacy of the region’s troubled past.

The plan, which is expected to be outlined by Lewis in the House of Commons, is expected to include a statute of limitations ending all prosecutions related to the Troubles before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The approach has been criticised by all major Northern Ireland political parties, the Irish government and victims groups as offering a “de facto amnesty” for veterans and former paramilitaries involved in the conflict.

Legislation which government want passed by parliament in Northern Ireland in the autumn is also expected to be included in the plan.

Protests took place last weekend against an amnesty, however, the UK government has said that the proposal will not amount to an amnesty.

Last month, Lewis and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney announced “intensive engagement” by the two governments, with political parties and families of victims to be involved in talks.

Ahead of the proposal, Coveney said in a statement on Twitter that the Irish government has a “very different view” to the UK on the issue.

“This is not a fait accompli. This is UKG outlining its position. Irish Govt has very different view (Stormont House), as do NI political parties and victims groups,” he said.

“SOSNI and I have committed to an inclusive dialog to try to agree consensus and that’s underway.”

More than 3,500 people died during the conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1970s to the drawing up of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Recently, families of victims have been seeking clarity on what happened to their family members by looking for fresh inquests, with a number of cases subsequently being looked a by former Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher.

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