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UK plans amnesty for war criminals

by IdiotSavant Thu Jul 15th, 2021 at 12:45:40 AM EST

England's massacres in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" are just another in its long list of colonial crimes. And like their other colonial crimes, they plan to sweep them under the carpet, with an effective amnesty for their colonial criminals:

All criminal prosecutions relating to the Troubles and future attempts to take civil actions would be blocked under UK government plans that have united Northern Ireland's parties in opposition.

The proposals, which are also opposed by the Irish government, were announced by Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, who told MPs it was a "painful truth" that criminal investigations were unlikely to deliver successful outcomes.

Instead, the plan envisages the establishment of a new independent body, likened to South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission and intended to help families find the truth about what happened to their loved ones.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

...and conveniently avoid providing any justice for the crimes committed, or any liability for the British military and state for their role in those crimes. And of course allow the latter to pretend that they weren't crimes at all, because a court was never allowed to say so. Its about impunity, not justice. And because of that, its not going to provide a lasting settlement. Anything less than full criminal prosecutions of all the murderers on both sides, regardless of whether they wore a uniform or not, is going to allow this issue to fester.

Even Northern Ireland's politicians can see this (or at least part of it), and are united in opposition to the plan. But I guess the real problem here is that Westminster doesn't really care what they think, and never has. Officially, their colonial project is over. But the colonial mindset persists.

Newton Emerson, a unionist commentator outlines the long and painful history of de facto amnesties and lack of prosecution of those responsible for killings in Northern Ireland.  I have noted in the comments below as follows:
Newton makes no mention of the opposition of the the Irish government and the five main political parties in the North to the amnesty proposals, which seems to have been driven more by domestic English Tory opposition to the prosecution of soldiers than by any concern for reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

He also fails to mention that British government assurances on the prosecution of wrong doers is woven into the fabric of several Irish British agreements and that it is therefore, once again, unilaterally breaking international law.

Brandan Lewis also proposed the creation of a new independent body that would focus on truth recovery over Troubles killings and other actions, but it is difficult to understand what incentive any killer would have to come clean now that any threat of prosecution (or the need to confess crimes in return for amnesty) has been removed. And I don't see any proposals for British Government files on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings to open for public review. Only some truths are to be revealed, apparently.

But in seeking to wipe the slate clean, the British government has also taken on direct responsibility for the actions of the security forces on its behalf in all instances. and can no longer claim they were the actions of soldiers or intelligence operatives gone rogue. But where is the compensation for victims or their relatives, or even expressions of concern for their plight? And if Soldier F can be named in the British Parliament, why not in the Irish Times?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 15th, 2021 at 07:57:35 PM EST
And if Soldier F can be named in the British Parliament, why not in the Irish Times?

Presumably the Irish Times fears an English court order.

I am boggled however that Westminster's parliamentary privilege fails to include protection for an accurate account of events in the house.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 12:05:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland's foreign minister has an opinion piece in the Guardian today: British plans for a Troubles amnesty would breach international obligations:
Dealing with the legacy of the Troubles is not easy, but there are no shortcuts. In 2014, the UK and Irish governments and Northern Ireland parties came together and negotiated a comprehensive and balanced framework for dealing with the legacy of the past - the Stormont House agreement.

That agreement allowed for proper independent investigations and prosecutions where possible. It also proposed the establishment of an independent international mechanism so people could come forward and tell what they knew without that information being used against them in court. It allowed for oral history initiatives and acknowledgment.


We do not believe an approach based on a general statute of limitations would be compatible with the obligations of the European convention on human rights. It would undoubtedly be tested in the courts and if it failed there, it would only add years of uncertainty and misery for families with no benefit.

Unfortunately, as demonstrated by Brexit, Westminster is contemptuous of international law, and does not seem to regard any agreement it has made as binding.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 01:57:28 AM EST
And other former British colonies have taken note and do insist that the UK respect its international agreements as a condition to joining trade alliances. Fancy that.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 06:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see why they would like to liken this process to the South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission, but it bears little likeness to it.

From Wikipedia:
"The commission was empowered to grant amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era, as long as the crimes were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure by the person seeking amnesty."

If the UK would set up a true Truth and reconciliation commission, full disclosures from soldiers involved in crimes would probably have interesting answers to questions about who ordered what. Questions I suspect the UK government would prefer never to be answered.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 09:19:46 PM EST

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