Human Rights Act pledges need careful scrutiny

Press reports today suggest the Conservatives are pledging to end the “unfair trials” of soldiers accused of murders in Northern Ireland by banning inquests from returning verdicts of unlawful killings for deaths during the Troubles.

The party is pledging to amend the Human Rights Act to exclude any death in Northern Ireland that took place before the act came into force in October 2000.

According to reports in The Telegraph and The Times, the first draft of the Conservative manifesto includes a promise that a new Tory government would ‘consider legislation that draws a clear line under the past’. An amendment to the Human Rights Act would bar prosecutions where ‘no new evidence has been produced and when accusations have already been exhaustively questioned’.

More than 200 former soldiers are understood to be under current criminal investigation for deaths during the troubles.

While I welcome today’s news, the Conservative’s proposals needs careful consideration. Any attempt to amend the Human Rights Act must be balanced against the need to protect ALL the other civil rights of our service personnel, veterans and their families.

Hilary Meredith