World, As Seen from the most beautiful islands: Ireland and Cyprus

Britain grants amnesty to British soldiers who committed crimes in N. Ireland


The British Parliament definitively approved a controversial new law on Wednesday that grants amnesty to ex-soldiers and militants involved in decades of violence in Northern Ireland, on the condition that they fully cooperate with a new investigative body.

Families of victims, human rights organizations, and all major political parties on the island of Ireland – both Irish nationalists and British unionists – have condemned the law as a denial of justice. The Irish government has stated that it is considering legally challenging the law.

“We cannot grant amnesty to killers. That is not justice,” said Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered by pro-British militants in 1976, but no one has been prosecuted. He described the passage through Parliament as “incredibly bad news” and a “despicable” development.

Approximately 3,600 people died in three decades of confrontation between Irish nationalist militants seeking a united Ireland, pro-British “loyalist” paramilitaries, and the British army. The conflict largely ended with a peace agreement in 1998.

The UK argues that it is becoming increasingly unlikely that prosecutions related to events from 55 years ago will lead to convictions and that the legislation is necessary to draw a line under the conflict.

The bill would establish a new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Retrieval, which would grant immunity to anyone cooperating with investigations.

It would prevent full post-mortems, criminal prosecutions, or civil claims related to crimes from the “Troubles” era but would not affect individuals already convicted or where prosecution is underway.

On Wednesday, the House of Commons voted to overturn amendments made in the upper house, the House of Lords, to the bill, meaning that the bill only requires royal assent, formal approval by the monarch, to become law.

Amnesty International described the passage as a “dark day” for justice in the country.

The Irish government has said it is considering challenging the law for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK government has stated that the law fully complies with the rules.

Hilary Benn, Labour’s Northern Ireland spokesperson, said during a debate in Parliament that a Labour government would repeal the law.

Written by: Grace Kennedy

Grace Kennedy is a leading journalist, columnist of events in Ireland and beyond. 8 years in journalism, since she dropped out of university and ran away from home.

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World, As Seen from the most beautiful islands: Ireland and Cyprus

From Trinity st. to Limassol, Cyprus

Ireland and Cyprus have one thing in common. The most beautiful islands are divided. Even proportions are strikingly similar. Both nations strive for unity and a good glass of the news. More about us under the link.

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