Proposed Legacy Bill self-serving to the detriment of victims

Mark Thompson

Today the British Queen’s Speech gave details of the British government’s proposals on legacy. In response the CEO of Relatives for Justice Mark Thompson said:

“This proposed Bill is specifically designed to remove the rights of all victims to effective independent investigation, remedy, accountability and ultimately justice.

“It significantly undermines the rule of law, rights and entitlements enshrined not only within the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), but also international law.

“In the two decades since the GFA successive UK governments, with the NIO, PSNI and MoD, have done everything in their power to thwart the application of the rule of law in order to shield the State from exposure of their role in the conflict.

“This proposed Bill places the British government in control of a deeply flawed process by which they alone determine who to punish, attribute blame, and continue its programme of anonymity and impunity, all this whilst lecturing victims that this is in their best interests.

“This is typically self-serving and primarily in the interests of privileging State perpetrators and their agents. Overall however this proposed Bill privileges all perpetrators to the detriment of victims and their rights.

“The British government has once again opted to abandon its agreement on legacy with the Irish government and all the executive parties by acting unilaterally.

“Victims of all persuasions and from all backgrounds will once again look to the Irish government, Irish-America, the Council of Europe and the UN to uphold their legal rights secured by the GFA and stand up to the UK government by rejecting this outrageous proposed Bill.”