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Plans to prosecute NI vetrans

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Plans to prosecute NI vetrans Empty Plans to prosecute NI vetrans

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-05-09, 11:34 am

Cabinet divided over plans to investigate unsolved NI killings
Defence secretary said to have argued that soldiers and police would be soft targets for inquiries

Jessica Elgot Political correspondent
 @jessicaelgot
Wed 9 May 2018 10.28 BSTLast modified on Wed 9 May 2018 11.14 BST




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 The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, is said to have raised concerns with the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley Photograph: Alan J Davidson/SHM/REX/Shutterstock
Cabinet ministers are divided over plans for a new unit to investigate Troubles-era killings in Northern Ireland, with the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, said to have raised concerns that veterans would be unfairly pursued.
The row centres on the creation of a historical investigations unit, which the government agreed to establish in 2014 as part of the Stormont House agreement, to investigate unsolved murders committed during the Troubles.
A consultation on the unit has stalled in recent months, partly due to dealing with the deadlock in restoring the Northern Irish executive.
Both Williamson and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, are understood to have raised concerns with the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, that ageing ex-soldiers, who had already had claims against them investigated, would not be sufficiently protected from new investigations under the current plans.

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A senior Whitehall source said Williamson believed the protections were “plainly not good enough or strong enough” and that concerns that an amnesty or statute of limitations could be subject to legal challenge could be overcome.
The source said: “There needs to be more there to protect veterans. People will always claim there are legal reasons why you can’t, but if there is the will to do right by veterans then there can be greater protections.”
Williamson is said to have argued that soldiers and police would be soft targets for new investigations because records exist of personnel whereas they do not for IRA members.
“Those making objections miss the bigger picture here that the odds are already stacked against veterans,” the Whitehall source said. “Ministers sat around the cabinet table and sent servicemen to bring peace to Northern Ireland and now could be signing them up to be prosecuted.”
The Northern Ireland Office has drafted a consultation document which has been circulated to the main Northern Irish parties, though it is not thought to include any proposal for a statute of limitations.
Bradley’s office believes the new unit would offer better protections for British soldiers and redress an imbalance, with families currently pursuing former soldiers through the inquest system, a route which is not available to victims of killings by paramilitary groups.
Northern Irish parties including the DUP and Sinn Féin are also said to have raised objections to a potential amnesty for elderly former soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.
The DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, whose party has a supply and confidence agreement to back the Conservatives in the hung parliament, told the BBC on Wednesday his party had concerns that an amnesty for the British armed forces in Northern Ireland could pave the way for an amnesty for the IRA, which he said would be unacceptable.
Donaldson said his party would instead push for a statute of limitations to apply to all killings committed by UK armed forces across the world – not just in Northern Ireland.
He said that statute of limitations should apply whenever there had already been an investigation which cleared the soldiers, to prevent cases being reopened when they were in retirement.
“The UK armed forces have taken part in conflicts across the world including Iraq and Afghanistan and we’ve had cases in recent years where soldiers who fought in Iraq have been pursued in spurious allegations,” Donaldson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“If you’ve had an allegation made against members of the armed forces, that they were involved in a killing … if those matters have previously been investigated, then we do not believe it’s right that 30 or 40 years later you re-open those cases when there is no new evidence and haul them an investigative process when they are in retirement.
“We believe our armed forces should be protected from that kind of behaviour. It’s not saying anyone in the armed forces who commits a crime should be exempt from prosecutions.”
Donaldson said the party would oppose any proposal which “could be used by the IRA and other terrorists to try and push for an amnesty for their crimes and that would be totally unacceptable”.
He said there was no comparison between IRA killings and deaths caused by British soldiers which had been investigated by authorities. “We don’t equate the armed forces with terrorist organisations,” he said.
“I do think we need to get a sense of proportion. Over 90% of deaths in Northern Ireland were caused by the IRA and other terrorist organisations and we need to remember that and no one at the moment is investigating those murders and that’s wrong – people are entitled to justice.”[/size]

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Post  Guest on 2018-05-09, 12:01 pm

This saddens me but surprises me not one jot.
Those lads had a splt second to make a decision or risk losing their mates.
What about the hundreds of murderers let out of prison early by that arsehole Bliar?
A lot of whom are now MP's. Why can't the government prosecute Sinn Fein & the DUP?
O0h aye, that's right, loyalist terrorists are propping the slag up.

Things like this piss me right off.
I might get a knock on my own door because they'll find them wherever they may be.
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Post  oldblackcat on 2018-05-09, 6:01 pm

Over 90% of deaths in Northern Ireland were caused by the IRA and other terrorist organisations and we need to remember that and no one at the moment is investigating those murders and that’s wrong – people are entitled to justice.”[/


Enough said
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Post  canary-dave on 2018-05-09, 6:09 pm

It should also be pointed out that soldiers don't decide to go and kill people, they are sent there by the politicians, so investigate them   Twisted Evil

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Post  gil t azell on 2018-05-18, 10:47 pm

^^^^^^^^^ what all the posts above say.
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