UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he intends to change the law and bring an end to prosecution of British veterans that served during the Troubles.
UK laws currently allow for soldiers to be prosecuted if they violate a civilian’s human rights during military operations.
This has led to some British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles being investigated and prosecuted over their actions.
A soldier who twice shot 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty in the head in Derry in 1972 is facing murder charges.
The soldier is also being charged with wounding with intent after he shot and injured Daniel’s cousin Christopher Hegarty.
It is believed that almost 200 ex-soldiers and police officers are facing investigations over their actions during the Troubles.
The Hegarty family won the right to pursue a prosecution of the soldier after the High Court overturned the Public Prosecution Service’s decision not to bring charges.
However, the UK’s Conservative Party want to change the country’s human rights laws so that soldiers won’t face prosecution for their actions before 2000, when the law came into place.
Johnson says the new legislation will ensure the Law of Armed Conflict has primacy and that peacetime laws are not applied to service personnel on military operations.
This means soldiers who committed atrocities during the Troubles will be free from prosecution.
Johnson said: “As we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our brave men and women for their country just over a century ago, it is right that we renew our commitment to the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and veterans of today.
“These measures will mean more childcare support for those who are currently serving. And it will mean that we harness the enormous contribution that veterans can make to our businesses and public sector organisations.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling