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The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has provided a Submission: NI Affairs Committee inquiry into addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past: UK Government’s new proposals.

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Submission: NI Affairs Committee inquiry into addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past: UK Government's new proposals

Last Updated: Monday, 19 April 2021

Read the Commission’s submission to the NI Affairs Committee inquiry into addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past: UK Government’s new proposals.

Date produced June 2020.

Below is a summary of the recommendations given in the brief.

You can also download the full document through the links provided.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC):

  • 2.9 advises that the UK Government comprehensively consults on whether the new direction set out in the Ministerial Statement meets the needs of victims, survivors and their families and is confident that the proposed way forward is compliant with Articles 2, 3 and 13 ECHR.
  • 2.13 recommends that the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement commitment to a comprehensive Mental Trauma Service is realised without any further delay.
  • 2.14 recommends that the Mental Trauma Service is adequately resourced and that those funds are ring-fenced to enable this service to meet the needs of victims to give effect to the State obligations to provide rehabilitation, as a form of effective remedy.
  • 2.24 recommends that a prompt decision is taken on how to finance the Victims’ Payment Scheme effectively and immediate steps are taken thereafter to fully implement the Scheme.
  • 2.25 recommends that the Scheme is regularly monitored and evaluated to ensure it is delivered in a human rights compliant manner.
  • 2.27 recommends that any specific advocate counsellor or other additional provision to support victims and survivors should be realised without further delay.
  • 2.31 recommends that the UK Government provides a clear statement on how it intends to progress its commitment in the Stormont House Agreement to consider statements of acknowledgement.
  • 3.11 advises that it is deeply concerned that the new legacy body proposed by the UK Government will not be compliant with Article 2 ECHR. 4 3.16 advises that Article 3 ECHR cases do not necessarily have to be conducted by the new legacy body, but they should not be forgotten and should be appropriately dealt with by an Article 3 ECHR compliant mechanism.
  • 4.5 advises that the UK Government’s new proposals are a radical departure from the Stormont House Agreement and the draft Stormont House Agreement Bill. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government set out in detail how the new arrangements will work and meet human rights obligations and then extensively consults with key stakeholders on those arrangements.
  • 5.5 recommends that the new legacy body should have the remit to ensure that all previous investigations into ‘Troubles-related’ deaths are Article 2 ECHR compliant. This should include the ability to assess the compliance of cases completed by the Historical Enquiries Team, Legacy Investigations Branch and the Police Ombudsman NI and the ability to re-investigate if noncompliance is identified.
  • 5.11 advises that all investigations by the new legacy body must in line with Article 2 ECHR principles that constitute an effective investigation.
  • 6.3 advises that the accelerated release scheme should be extended to those serving sentences for related offences committee on or after 1 January 1968 and before 8 August 1973, including the security forces.
  • 6.8 advises that any steps regarding the investigation or prosecution of veterans should not amount to an amnesty, including the introduction of a statute of limitations or other undue or insurmountable barriers to prosecution for human rights violations and abuses, such as violations of Articles 2 and 3 ECHR. Arrangements such as those contained in the Sentencing Review Act could be applied after any prosecutorial process.