Boris Johnson said the amnesty for the murders of the Troubles was “fundamentally flawed”
A cross-community group representing victims and survivors of the unrest warned the prime minister that it would be “fundamentally wrong” to grant amnesty for all killings committed during the conflict.
The Wave Trauma Center wrote an open letter to Boris Johnson following the recent collapse of high profile legacy cases.
The letter argues that effectively addressing “complex and sensitive legacy issues” will not be achieved by “perverting the criminal justice system.”
Proposals presented to the Times newspaper in May suggested the government plans to end all prosecutions for alleged offenses, whether committed by veterans or by Republican and loyalist paramilitaries.
“These briefings confirmed that the main motivation of the policy is not to address complex inheritance issues in a consistent and sensitive manner, but rather to protect ex-combatants from potential prosecution through a de facto amnesty that will include the paramilitaries themselves. who murdered their colleagues as well as thousands of civilians, ”the letter said.
“We just can’t believe the veterans would want this to happen to the families of their fellow soldiers killed during the unrest.
“If anyone in Downing Street, the Ministry of Defense or the Northern Ireland office seriously thinks that an amnesty of this nature can be the foundation on which reconciliation could be built, it shows how much they understand hurt the nature of the pain and trauma that continue to be suffered by victims, survivors and their families.
It emerged this week that the prosecution of two former soldiers for the Troubles murders, including two on Bloody Sunday, should be stayed.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office for Northern Ireland has announced that the case against Private F for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 will not proceed.
The prosecution of another veteran, Private B, for the murder of Daniel Hegarty, 15, in Derry later in 1972, will also not take place, the PPS has said.
The open letter to the Prime Minister asks: “Would the families of the 7/7 attacks, or the Manchester bombing, or any other atrocity be called upon to end their own grief and their quest for justice?” ?
Among the signatories of the letter is Cathy McCann, president of the Wave Trauma Center, whose father was murdered by B Specials Auxiliary Police in 1969, in a case that remains unresolved.
In 1990 Ms McCann was seriously injured as the sole survivor of a roadside bomb in which a nun and three police officers were murdered by the Provisional IRA.
Other signatories include former wave chairman Damien McNally, whose father was assassinated by loyalists in 1976 in an unresolved case, Pastor David Clements, whose father was an RUC officer assassinated by the Provisional IRA in 1985 and Jean Caldwell, whose husband was assassinated by Provisional IRA in 1992.
The letter warns that an amnesty on murders committed during the conflict times “will not help reconciliation” but will exacerbate “the anguish and bitterness which will bleed in subsequent generations.”
He argues that the proposals would also bring comfort to those who “were always ready to maim and kill” by sending the message that “if they hold on long enough, they won’t have to answer for what they did. “.
Shadow Secretary of State to Labor MP for Northern Ireland Louise Haigh called for clarity.
She said: “This government has given its word to victims – it will carry out the appropriate investigations denied to victims and their families for so long.
“Reports suggest they want to tear this promise apart, and with it cruelly deprive families of the chance to find out the truth about what happened to their loved ones.
“The vast majority of ongoing investigations concern Republican and Loyalist terrorist attacks.
“The Prime Minister should look the families of the victims in the eye and explain why he wants to close the book on their cases.”
A UK government spokesperson said: “The government is fully committed to engaging with Wave and other victim groups to find a way forward on legacy issues that focuses on information retrieval and reconciliation , and ends the cycle of investigations. “