British Government plans to impose a “statute of limitations”, to cease prosecutions for incidents during the troubles, will slam the door to justice for those who lost loved ones in terrible circumstances.
The implication from Boris Johnson and his cohorts is that this will protect veterans who were responsible for murder from facing the inside of a court dock – which has been welcomed by right wing press.
However, what Boris Johnson’s government is really interested in, is having the long list of crimes committed with official military authority in the North, exonerated. The British empire has a long and blood stained history across the world and they have much to fear from having to own up to how much of it was sanctioned from the very top – rather than the actions of a few ‘rogue’ individual soldiers.
From Bloody Sunday to Ballymurphy, we know that the top brass of the British military were culpable in murder. If these kinds of cases are tried before the courts, the image curated by the British establishment of an army on a peacekeeping mission between two warring tribes in the North would be further shattered.
Boris Johnson’s plan to protect those who murdered in cold blood will protect their interests and those who gave the orders – not the victims and their families. They must be ardently opposed because they are not supported by the vast majority of people locally and because they represent an assault on justice.
Those who were killed by Paramilitaries will also be impacted by these plans which are not supported by victims groups who represent them. We need to see a process which offers a fair chance at justice to the families of every victim of the troubles, rather than trying to bury their experiences and their grief.