Government response to investigations into fatalities in Northern Ireland

13 November 2017

The Defence Committee publishes the Government’s response to its report on Investigations into fatalities in Northern Ireland involving British military personnel.

Status quo not sustainable

During the last Parliament, the Defence Committee undertook an inquiry into the ongoing investigations into Troubles-related deaths involving former service personnel. The Committee’s report, published in April 2017, concluded that the status quo was not sustainable and recommended that the Government legislate for a statute of limitations, covering all Troubles-related incidents, up to the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which involved former members of the Armed Forces.

Chair's comments 

Commenting on the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, the Defence Committee Chairman, the Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP said:

The Committee continues to have serious concerns about the number of cases being considered by the legacy investigation bodies in Northern Ireland. As the Government’s response concedes, legacy-related caseload is already considerable and is continuing to grow in size. We fear that the Ministry of Defence is being complacent about the number of cases that could soon be in the pipeline for former service personnel.

Nonetheless, I welcome the announcement, by the Government, that the consultation document on the forthcoming draft Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill will include a section on alternative ways forward, including a Statute of Limitations. The Committee will engage constructively with this consultation and we will put putting forward our own proposals as part of this process.

Further information

Image: Crown copyright

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