Ending prosecutions related to the Troubles will allow Northern Ireland to move ahead, according to the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson believes that ending all prosecutions related to the Troubles will protect army veterans and allow Northern Ireland to move ahead.
The introduction of a statute of limitations, according to the Prime Minister, was a fair and reasonable method for the province to “draw a line” under the past. The plans, which will apply equally to veterans, ex-RUC officials, and IRA terrorists, have been criticized by victims and political parties in the region as a “de facto amnesty.” Mr Johnson claimed that when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, many terrorists were effectively granted amnesty, allowing them to “avoid the full repercussions of their crimes.”
“The sad fact remains that many members of the armed forces face vexatious prosecutions well into their 70s, 80s, and later,” he told MPs, “and we’re finally bringing forward a solution to this problem, to enable the province of Northern Ireland to draw a line under the Troubles, to enable the people of Northern Ireland to move forward.”
The prosecution prohibition is part of a larger package that includes a truth and reconciliation body to assist families in recovering information about occurrences involving their loved ones, as well as an oral history project.
“We realize that the prospect of the termination of criminal prosecutions will be difficult for some to accept, and this is not a stance we take lightly,” Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the Commons.
“However, we have come to the conclusion that this is the best and only method to support a successful information retrieval and provision procedure, as well as the greatest approach to assist Northern Ireland in moving forward on the road to reconciliation.
“It is, in reality, a terrible realization of our current situation.”
Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader who served in Northern Ireland, described how a “close friend,” Captain Robert Nairac, was kidnapped and murdered in 1977.
Many of the intelligence officer’s family and friends had “unfortunately” accepted that they would never know the truth about what happened to him because of the provisions of the peace accord, he said.
“This will not be popular with everyone,” the Tory MP continued, “but we will all have to make some type of sacrifice if we are to move forward.”
“The vexatious is my primary concern.” Brinkwire Summary News”.