UK government operated ‘practice of impunity’ during Northern Ireland conflict: report News
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UK government operated ‘practice of impunity’ during Northern Ireland conflict: report

The British government operated a “widespread, systematic, and systemic practice of impunity” that protected security forces from sanction during the conflict in Northern Ireland, according to a report released Monday by a panel of international human rights experts.

The report found that state actors killed at least 374 people during the Northern Ireland conflict, also known as the Troubles, with the majority of the victims being civilians and unarmed at the time. Furthermore, the report concluded that these killings by the state have not been subject to a fair and effective investigations, violating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The report also found that collusion was a deep-seated feature of the practice of state agencies throughout the entire conflict, meaning that the British government and security forces turned a blind eye to criminal acts otherwise attributed to non-state actors.

The report recommends that the UK repeal the controversial new Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023, which is set to come into force on May 1. According to the report, the new legislation will prevent new inquests and close down many outstanding inquests. The legislation creates a new body, the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, to examine legacy cases. However, the report claims that this body will have a much weaker investigative mandate than the ones it replaces.

UN experts previously expressed concern about the new legislation, warning that it would place the UK in obvious violation of its international obligations.

Previously the Northern Ireland High Court ruled that the Legacy Act 2023 is incompatible with the ECHR, to which the UK lodged an appeal. Furthermore the government of Ireland lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights regarding the Legacy Act 2023. The court has yet to decide on the matter.