Johnsonís amnesty for Northern Ireland soldiers is a license to kill

By Finian Cunningham

November 12, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Boris Johnsonís pledge to end prosecutions of soldiers accused of unlawful killings during Northern Irelandís conflict not only denies justice for victims, itís a license for British forces in all conflicts to kill with impunity.

Prime Minister Johnson made his announcement on the annual Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. In a blatant electioneering ploy, he said if his Conservative government is re-elected on December 12, then British law will be amended to bar any future prosecution of soldiers for alleged atrocities committed during Northern Irelandís three-decade conflict (1969-1998).

Such an amnesty has long been called for by right-wing Tory lawmakers, many of them ex-servicemen, as well as the military establishment and jingoistic British media. The Daily Mail has been campaigning to end what it calls Ďwitch-huntsí of veteran soldiers accused of unlawful killings in Northern Ireland.

Johnsonís vow to scrap prosecutions is red meat to his increasingly right-wing Conservative Party and supporters, and is no doubt aimed at rallying voters in elections next month to push through his Brexit plans.

There have been mounting efforts by Tory parliamentarians to grant immunity to British soldiers who were deployed in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, General Richard Dannatt who was head of Britainís armed forces and who is now a member of the House of Lords, told the media: ďWhat we canít allow to go forward is the presumption that those deaths in which the military were involved were wrongÖ Soldiers did their duty, got up in the morning, sometimes they came under attack. They returned fired. They didnít set out to murder people. Terrorists set out every morning to murder people and successfully did so. There is a huge distinction to be drawn.Ē

This view underlines the complacency and moral torpor of many in the Conservative Party who are adamant that no British soldier should ever face justice for crimes against civilians in Northern Ireland.

   

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