Proposed Government legislation to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s Troubles risks widespread breaches of human rights law, a Westminster committee has found.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has urged the Government to reconsider its approach following legislative scrutiny of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill.
The bill has already passed through the House of Commons and is now set for consideration by the House of Lords.
The legislation proposes a form of amnesty for perpetrators of Troubles crimes in exchange for co-operation with a new truth recovery body.
The bill, if enacted, would also end investigations and civil proceedings related to the conflict.
The changes are opposed by political parties and victims’ groups in Northern Ireland, as well as the Irish government.
In its report, the cross-party committee warned that the bill’s approach risks fail to meet the minimum standards required to ensure effective investigations into Troubles-related cases concerning deaths and serious injury.
It stated that the right to life and the prohibition of torture under the ECHR require that the State undertake investigations into certain cases concerning deaths and serious harm which are independent, effective, reasonably prompt and expeditious, subject to public scrutiny, and involve the next- of-kin.
The committee has also expressed concern that closing down avenues to pursue truth and justice is a “high-risk strategy and places the UK at risk of non-compliance with Article 6 (right of access to a court) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy)”.
It continued: “Criminal investigations, prosecutions, and inquests should be permitted to continue, and a more reasonable, longer limitation period should be provided for civil claims.”
Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Joanna Cherry said: “Establishing