Troops may get a ten-year limit over witch hunts… but it will NOT apply to soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during The Troubles
- Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt unveiled proposals for a new law for troops
- It will stop soldiers being investigated over incidents more than ten years old
- The ten-year ruling would not apply to veterans who served in Northern Ireland
Troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan would be protected from legal ‘witch-hunts’ under plans announced last night.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt unveiled proposals for a law that will stop soldiers being investigated over incidents more than ten years old unless compelling new evidence comes to light.
The amnesty will include a ‘statutory presumption against prosecution’ that will say action after that time-scale is not in the public interest except in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan would be protected from legal ‘witch-hunts’ under plans announced last night (stock image)
However, the ten-year ruling would not apply to veterans who served in Northern Ireland.
The new limit would aim to stamp out relentless police probes into serving soldiers and veterans who have already been quizzed about their actions on the battlefield.
Under the proposals, the law would be applied both retrospectively to those personnel who have served overseas and will also apply to future conflicts that Britain is involved in.
Announcing a consultation, Miss Mordaunt said: ‘It is high time that we 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.’
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt (pictured) unveiled proposals for a law that will stop soldiers being investigated over incidents more than ten years old unless compelling new evidence comes to light
Military chiefs are understood to be furious that soldiers are still facing investigations despite politicians repeatedly promising an end to such probes.
Miss Mordaunt’s pledge comes after the Mail revealed that dozens of Iraq War veterans are still being investigated over incidents a decade ago. British troops are also still facing a criminal probe into incidents that occurred in Afghanistan.
Miss Mordaunt will establish a short consultation that will look at legal protections for those facing historical allegations.
And she will apply lessons from investigating allegations in Iraq and Afghanistan to Northern Ireland legacy cases.
Miss Mordaunt will establish a short consultation that will look at legal protections for those facing historical allegations
An MoD statement said: ‘A short public consultation will propose legislation to ensure service personnel and veterans are not subjected to repeated investigations on historical operations, many years after the events in question.’
The Defence Secretary will also pledge her commitment to derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights when it applies to the battlefield.
Ministers are pushing ahead with plans for a new taxpayer-funded unit to investigate Northern Ireland military veterans. The Government will respond to a public consultation in the coming days on how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.
A report will conclude that an ‘overwhelming majority’ of those who responded to the consultation do not support an amnesty or a statute of limitations for troops and terrorists.
It will say that instead, there is ‘broad support’ for proposals set out by ministers, which include a new body to examine 1,700 deaths during the Troubles from as far back as 1968.
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