Ireland Challenges UK’s Amnesty Law At European Court of Human Rights

ireland challenges uks amnesty law at european court of human rights

ireland challenges uks amnesty law at european court of human rights

Last week, Ireland took a big step by filing a case against the United Kingdom at the European Court of Human Rights. This is only the second time Ireland has done this. 

The issue is about a new British law that gives amnesty, or legal protection, to former British soldiers and others who committed crimes during the Northern Ireland conflict. This conflict lasted for many years and involved a lot of violence.

The law in question called the Northern Ireland Troubles (Reconciliation and Legacy) Act 2023, was passed in September 2023. 

It stops almost all legal cases against these soldiers and others for murders and crimes committed during the conflict. Even ongoing investigations will be stopped by May 1, 2024, unless they are already finished.

Ireland decided to go to court after trying many other ways to convince the UK to choose a different path that respects human rights. 

Daniel Holder from the Council of Europe (Committee on the Administration of Justice) in Belfast says this legal action is very important. It’s a way to fight against letting people get away with serious crimes.

Many people don’t like this British law. Victims’ groups, human rights organizations, and all major Irish political parties are against it. Even 27 Members of the United States Congress criticized it in January 2023.

Sara Duddy from the Pat Finucane Centre, another human rights group, says this court case will highlight how unfairly victims have been treated by the British government. She thinks the UK government should feel embarrassed.

The Irish Government argues that the law breaks the European Convention on Human Rights. It goes against the right to life and the right to not be tortured or treated badly. The Convention requires that serious human rights violations be investigated and prosecuted.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, included the European Convention in its laws. Later, the Stormont House Agreement in 2014 set up bodies to look into unsolved crimes from the conflict but didn’t allow for amnesty. The British government has not followed this agreement either.

Human Rights organizations that work on human rights issues strongly oppose this British law. They are happy that the Irish Government is taking legal action and will soon publish a report about state impunity during the Northern Ireland conflict.

About Right Sider

AvatarRight sider is a passionate writer who has traveled extensively around the world, learning about the history of all the regions and walking the paths of his characters.

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