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Government ‘inter-state’ case may be the only way to stop UK Troubles Legacy Bill – Currie

Move would bypass lengthy route victims would have to take through UK domestic courts

6th September 2023 - Emer Currie

The Irish Government should take an inter-state case to the International Court of the Council of Europe when the UK passes the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, a Fine Gael Senator has said.


Fine Gael spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Senator Emer Currie, said that this could be the only way to stop the irreparable harm it will cause and is the most effective way to support victims.


“The British Government’s Legacy Bill will shortly complete its passage through Westminster to become law, devastating victim’s groups who have already campaigned for truth and justice over lifetimes. It’s the ultimate betrayal and alienation of those who have suffered the most.


“Once the Bill is law it will begin to shut down all existing mechanisms dealing with Northern Ireland legacy cases when they had been increasingly delivering for victims, including inquests.”


Instead, a system of ‘conditional immunity’ providing an amnesty with a low and subjective threshold and a new limited legacy body that is not independent will be set up to deal with cases.


“This is despite both UN and Council of Europe mandate holders expressing serious concerns regarding the legacy bill and its incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights and UN human rights treaties.


“But when the parliamentary process is completed at Westminster the legal challenges will begin. Victims will challenge this law to the end, and I believe our government should support them.


“The only sure way to get the legislation challenged quickly before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) would be for the Irish Government to take an Inter-state case directly to the European Court of Human Rights. This would bypass the lengthy route victims would and will take through UK domestic courts.


“The Government has taken a strong and consistent line at home and internationally regarding its serious concerns and opposition to the unilateral UK legacy bill. That should continue by whatever means possible. The Irish Government should help carry the devastating burden this Bill leaves victims, who have already been made to go through enough.


“As the Bill becomes law our best hope to stop it is through an Inter-State challenge, before irreparable harm is done – to victims’ rights, victim’s voices, to truth and justice for all.”



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