UK News MPs launch inquiry into protecting British war veterans from prosecution

20:30  12 june  2018
20:30  12 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Julian Lewis: Defencecommittee chair Julian Lewis has launched a new inquiry into protecting military veterans from prosecution (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Defencecommittee chair Julian Lewis has launched a new inquiry into protecting military veterans from prosecution (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

An influential committee of MPs has launched an inquiry into protecting British war veterans from prosecution following all conflicts.

The Defence committee called for former soldiers facing investigations into Troubles-related fatalities in Northern Ireland to be safeguarded using an official statute of limitations.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM:  A former British prisoner of war holds his medals 15 August 2000 outside the Japanese Embassy in London to mark the 55th anniversary of the Victory over Japan (VJ day). Second World War veterans handed letters to the Japanese ambassador, asking for compensation and a 'meaningful apology' from Japan for their years of torture and barbaric treatment in prison camps during World War II. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: A former British prisoner of war holds his medals 15 August 2000 outside the Japanese Embassy in London to mark the 55th anniversary of the Victory over Japan (VJ day). Second World War veterans handed letters to the Japanese ambassador, asking for compensation and a 'meaningful apology' from Japan for their years of torture and barbaric treatment in prison camps during World War II. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Government is consulting on measures addressing the country’s violent past, including an Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) to search for opportunities for prosecution.

Committee chair Julian Lewis said: “Our concerns are such that we intend to return to the subject of statute of limitations and, once again, to explore how former service personnel can be protected from the spectre of investigation and re-investigation for events that happened many years, and often decades, earlier.”

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The federal government has backed a call from Labor to hold a Senate inquiry into the use of a Support is growing for the introduction of a statute of limitations preventing the prosecution of army MPs last night launched a campaign to protect British military veterans as the outgoing head of the

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His committee’s report last year called for the enactment of the legal statute covering all incidents during the Northern Ireland conflict up to the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement which involved former members of the Armed Forces.

British Foreign Secretary Johnson and Australian Foreign Minister Bishop speak to British Army veterans during a tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London © Reuters British Foreign Secretary Johnson and Australian Foreign Minister Bishop speak to British Army veterans during a tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London

Committee members said they were disappointed and surprised the Northern Ireland Office’s consultation on addressing the legacy of decades of violence did not reflect their recommendations.

Backbench MPs have led a vociferous campaign for a statute of limitations to end what they claim is a “witch hunt” against members of the armed forces.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the treatment of Northern Ireland veterans was unfair while Northern Ireland’s former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Barra McGrory said soldiers were not treated unfairly.

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Paramilitaries were responsible for most of the killings in Northern Ireland.

Official statistics for prosecutions show a minority involved the Army.

Second World War veterans Tony Tremarco (left), from Liverpool, and Bill Germanes (3rd left), from Hackney in north-east London, join fellow veterans in a salute at Royal Chelsea Hospital in London, as a 'Heroes Return' scheme is set to be launched allowing British veterans the opportunity to travel overseas to commemorate the battles they fought in and the comrades they lost during the war sixty years ago.   (Photo by Johnny Green - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Second World War veterans Tony Tremarco (left), from Liverpool, and Bill Germanes (3rd left), from Hackney in north-east London, join fellow veterans in a salute at Royal Chelsea Hospital in London, as a 'Heroes Return' scheme is set to be launched allowing British veterans the opportunity to travel overseas to commemorate the battles they fought in and the comrades they lost during the war sixty years ago. (Photo by Johnny Green - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) Mr Lewis added: “The Government has a moral duty to defend those who served in the defence of our country, whether that was in Northern Ireland, Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Even veterans of the Falklands campaign in 1982 have told me that they, too, could be targeted.

“It simply cannot be right that veterans, who were the subject of investigations at the time of the events in question and subsequently cleared, are now living in fear of re-investigations and the threat of prosecutions.”

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