Presenting British soldiers being asked questions about killings as victims is insulting

Mark Thompson

In response to today’s question from backbench Tory MP’s about a possible statute of limitation on killings by the British army and Theresa May’s response Relatives for Justice CEO Mark Thompson issued the following statement:

“This is a bit of a revolt by Tory back benchers and the DUP, which we must say is the clearest example of double standards on their part given their continued stance against any form of amnesty of which any attempt at a statute of limitation would represent.

“But we need to be clear for families; there is no time limit on criminal activity, killings and murder that the British army were involved in here. There will be no statute of limitations. This is illegal in domestic and international law and any attempt will be challenged in the courts and the UK government know that full well.

“Indeed in a speech last September at the British/Irish Association conference in Oxford James Brokenshire said that his government; “…will not provide for any amnesties or immunities from prosecution…”

“So what exactly is the British government at?

“Well they’re trying to present soldiers as the victims when they might possibly be asked for the first time ever – in an independent way – about killings they carried out. It is a rearguard action by the ‘establishment’ against any form of accountability concerning the past.

“Defending the indefensible as they did throughout the conflict is no longer an option as part of transition in which they will finally be held to account within a human rights compliant process. This too includes accounting for agents, collusion and murder.

“Nonetheless presenting armed soldiers who killed people here as victims is insulting and deeply offensive to the many hundreds of families who had loved ones killed by the British army.

In response to Theresa May saying that people were chasing soldiers;

“The only business families, NGO’s and lawyers are engaged in is the business of seeking accountability, truth and justice for some of the most egregious human rights violations of the conflict.

“Our work is about addressing the policy of impunity for state killings in which the UK government unsuccessfully sought to exercise a ‘national security’ veto to prevent scrutiny of the British army and its intelligence services and of precisely what they were up to during the conflict here. That is why the UK government did not implement the agreed mechanisms at Stormont House.

“Our work is also about correcting the narrative of the past in an accurate and factual way and there is political resistance to this not least from those seeking to protect and shield British soldiers from investigation.

“During the conflict there was regular interference with due process and the law and in that context Theresa May needs to now clarify here position on support for the rule of law.

However, it is also worth noting that despite the flapping of Tory backbenchers and DUP MP’s, Theresa May actually swerved the question and avoided answering it.” ENDS