Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson to end prosecutions of Troubles veterans through Queen's Speech - report

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons, London. Photo credit: House of Commons/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons, London. Photo credit: House of Commons/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to promise to end prosecutions of former armed forces for their actions during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Sun has reported that the plan will be included in tomorrow's Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament.

Mr Johnson is set to vow to amend the Human Rights Act so it does not apply to cases such as Troubles killings, which happened before it came into force in 2000.

The idea of such an amnesty has been floated over a number of years, with calls for its implementation rising after a decision earlier this year to charge one soldier, known as Soldier F, for his part in the death of two people on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

After reports of an amnesty circulated earlier this year Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there could be no protections for those who had committed crimes during the Troubles.

He said that the Irish government would not support an amnesty for the crimes, no matter who committed them.

The plan had also been slammed by unionists who claim it will mean terrorists will never be brought before the courts.

"What they're trying to do is draw a line in the sand of prosecutions in Northern Ireland and that includes terrorists getting away scot-free for the perverse nature of the things that they did," UUP MLA Doug Beattie said.

A leaked memo from March this year revealed that then PM Theresa May had ruled out the idea of a statute of limitations on historical prosecutions of military personnel who served during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister had promised to introduce measures to support military personnel, veterans and their families if his party won last week's General Election.

A Soldier F banner
A Soldier F banner

Mr Johnson's Government will also make the Armed Forces Covenant legally binding. Although it applies it in the rest of the UK, it has not yet been introduced to Northern Ireland.

The Military Covenant represents Britain's duty of care to its armed forces in return for the sacrifices made in the line of duty.

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