CAJ statement on Queen’s Speech implications for Northern IrelandMay 10, 2022
CAJ raises serious concerns about the legacy commitments arising from the Queen’s Speech.
Brian Gormally, CAJ Director, commented: “Today’s Queen’s Speech contains a commitment to bring forward legislation to ‘address the legacy of the past’. Details are scant, but it seems that all recourse to law for victims in relation to ‘incidents’ during the conflict will be abolished. Proper investigations, upholding the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, will still not be allowed.
“This amounts to a full, frontal attack on the rule of law and is entirely unacceptable in a democratic society.
“It seems that the government has responded to the almost universal criticism of its earlier proposals by suggesting that alleged perpetrators will have to ‘earn’ an amnesty by cooperating with a new Commission for Reconciliation and Truth Recovery. However, there is no indication what level of cooperation will be needed, nor how prosecutions could ensue without proper investigations.
“We will need to see the detail of the long-delayed legislation but, at this stage, the government obsession with ‘protecting’ British Army veterans at all costs and in breach of international law seems to be intact.
“This government’s assault on human rights can also be seen through its repeated reviews of the Human Rights Act and proposed UK Bill of Rights, which will only weaken protections for all.”
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Note: Brian will be giving evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights at 3pm on Wednesday 11 May 2022. He will discuss the impact of the Human Rights Act in Northern Ireland and how the Bill of Rights proposals are a particular risk to the fragile peace settlement.