March 07, 2014Impunity Northern Ireland Accountability and Access to Justice
In a joint statement, leading human rights organisations based in London and Belfast, Rights Watch (UK) and the Committee on the Administration of Justice, reject the call by former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain for a de facto amnesty on historic crimes in Northern Ireland. Such an amnesty would be complete denial of access to justice and would fundamentally undermine the peace process.
They state that:
“The suggestion by Peter Hain that a de facto amnesty is needed in order to allow Northern Ireland to put the past behind it fails to recognise the international legal obligations of the United Kingdom and the importance of access to justice for the stability of peace in Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom has a legal obligation to ensure that victims and their families in Northern Ireland have access to justice. This includes effective, prompt, thorough and independent investigations into alleged abuses perpetrated by all sides of the conflict including state and non-state actors, and where appropriate action to be taken against those allegedly responsible.
Peace will not be sustained by sweeping the past under the carpet. Victims and their families who have been lobbying for justice for decades need the truth to be told and those responsible to be held to account. If this does not happen, the sores of the past will fester and the peace will forever remain fragile.”
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