| 10.5°C Belfast

Bereaved Troubles families do not have right to know what happened to loved ones 'at expense of stress and worry' to ex-soldiers, claims former general

Close

General Lord Richard Dannatt

General Lord Richard Dannatt

General Lord Richard Dannatt

A former British Army general is calling on Boris Johnston to halt prosecutions against soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Richard Dannatt, who is also a Lord made the demand after 1,000 outstanding allegations of war crimes carried out in Iraq were dropped last week.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnston outlined his intention to "tackle vexatious claims that undermine our armed forces" in the Queen's Speech last December.

Mr Dannatt, speaking to the Sun newspaper said it was "grossly unfair" to pursue prosecutions against soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.

Currently there are six soldiers facing prosecution by the Public Prosecution Service in connection to allegations associated to their service in Northern Ireland.

Close

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings, who has been charged over the fatal 1974 shooting of a man in Northern Ireland, taking part in a protest to call for an end to prosecutions of veterans who served during the Troubles in London. (PA/Gareth Fuller)

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings, who has been charged over the fatal 1974 shooting of a man in Northern Ireland, taking part in a protest to call for an end to prosecutions of veterans who served during the Troubles in London. (PA/Gareth Fuller)

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings, who has been charged over the fatal 1974 shooting of a man in Northern Ireland, taking part in a protest to call for an end to prosecutions of veterans who served during the Troubles in London. (PA/Gareth Fuller)

Among them, Dennis Hutchings who has been charged with the attempted murder of John Patrick Cunningham, shot in the back in 1974 in Benburb in County Armagh and a former paratrooper, identified only as Soldier F who has been charged with the murder of Jim Wray and William McKinney and attempted murder of four others in Derry in 1972 on Bloody Sunday.

In his interview with the Sun, Mr Dannatt said that while families in Northern Ireland whose loved ones were killed by soldiers had a right to know what happened it could not at any cost.

He said: "Families of the bereaved have the right to know what happened to their loved ones but not at the expense of stress and worry to 60 and 70-year-old former soldiers. That offends natural justice and must stop.

"I am delighted that the appalling IHAT (Iraq Historical Allegations Team) is now itself part of history, so too must be the witch hunt of former soldiers who did their duty in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister has pledged to act – now is the time."

Any move by the Prime Minister to stop the Public Prosecution Service or the PSNI from building cases against former soldiers accused of misconduct is likely to be challenged by families at the heart of the allegations.

Belfast Telegraph