Penny Mordaunt, the new defence secretary, has promised to introduce an amnesty against prosecution of British soldiers for alleged offences committed in the course of duty more than ten years ago covering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and aorund the world but not in Northern Ireland.
“It is high time that we change the system and provide the right legal protections to make sure the decisions our service personnel take in the battlefield will not lead to repeated or unfair investigations down the line,” Mordaunt said.
Following that announcement, Mordaunt said she would like to see the exemption extended to cover the period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, criticised Mordaunt for making “loose comments”.
He told the Irish parliament hat “there should be effective investigation into deaths during the Troubles, regardless of the perpetrators.”
Mordaunt also supports opting out of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in future armed conflicts.
It is permitted under the rules of the Council of Europe to derogate from the ECHR in times of war but Liberty, a human rights group, has criticised the idea. Liberty argues that most legal claims relate to offences that cannot be derogated from, such as torture.