N.Ireland Amnesty Law Breaches Human Rights Law: UK Court

N.Ireland amnesty law breaches human rights law: UK court

Belfast, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Feb, 2024) A UK law granting immunity to combatants involved in the decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as "the Troubles" is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, a Belfast court ruled Wednesday.

Victims of the violence launched the legal action challenging the law, which received royal assent in September despite widespread opposition from political parties, victims' organisations, the Irish government and the Council of Europe.

The law, first proposed by the ruling Conservative government in May 2022, calls for the creation of a truth and recovery commission offering amnesty to British security personnel and paramilitaries if they cooperate with its enquiries.

But in its ruling, the Belfast High Court said there is no evidence the immunity provision will in any way contribute to reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

"I am satisfied that the immunity from prosecution provisions... are in breach of the lead applicant's rights pursuant to Article 2 of the ECHR," judge Adrian Colton said.

Article 2 of the convention affirms issues around the right to life.

Colton also ruled that the law also breached Article 3 of the ECHR, which prohibits torture and outlaws "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

However, the judge also said the new body set up to probe Troubles killings -- the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) -- could proceed with human rights-compliant investigations.