The UK is introducing a controversial law to prosecute crimes arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland

The legislation proposes to pardon criminals in exchange for providing information to an independent committee

Madrid, September 6 (European Press) –

The British House of Commons has taken the first step to approve a law that will prosecute the violent murders in the saga of The Troubles (‘The Troubles’, in English), the euphemism for the Northern Irish conflict, which claimed three decades of the lives of more than 3,500 people until the signing of the Accords. The Great Friday.

The controversial bill, which has been heavily criticized by the Irish political class, victims’ families and numerous human rights organisations, will have to be voted on again next week before it is finally approved.

The new legislation stipulates the establishment of an independent committee to examine deaths during the conflict that left more than 3,500 dead and 40,000 injured in the unrest that began in the late 1960s.

One of the most controversial points is that it includes an amnesty for those who committed crimes during the conflict in exchange for providing information to the committee, an initiative that will benefit not only veterans of the British army, but also those who opened fire. Against the army.

This legislation, inspired by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will prevent the opening of new cases or investigations in this regard, so all cases must go through the independent commission.

Reactions to the law

Amnesty International UK’s deputy director for Northern Ireland, Gráinne Tygart, emphasized that the law “does nothing more than absolve those responsible for conflict-related violations under the pretext of reconciliation.”

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For his part, Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, confirmed that the legislation promoted by the government “does not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, which the United Kingdom has signed,” according to the BBC.

Likewise, Billy McGrenery, the grandson of one of the victims, William McGrenery – who was shot by a soldier from a British Army infantry regiment – said the initiative represents a “gross injustice to every family in this country”.

British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, defended that the legislation, backed by several veterans’ organisations, would allow a “line to be drawn” between the past and the present, Sky News reported.

The conflict dates back to the 1920s, when the island of Ireland was divided between an independent state of the same name and a northern region that remained attached to the United Kingdom. Then the unionist theses triumphed at the expense of the Republican theses who wanted to integrate into an independent Ireland.

Political and social differences a decade later led to the creation of armed groups: on the unionist side, the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force emerged, while on the rival side the Irish Republican Army, known by its English acronym IRA, was created. .

The Good Friday Agreements laid the foundations for a framework of respect between the two parties and, in the political sphere, led to the emergence of a new parliament based in Belfast and a forced coalition government. The nationalists, led by the Democratic Unionist Party, and the republicans, led by Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, were forced to sit at the same table.

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