Rule of law should apply to everyone equally, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said the rule of law should apply to everyone equally, as MPs today debated a statute of limitations for former soldiers.

MPs discussed the recommendations of the Defence Committee, for the Government to enact a statute of limitations for members of the armed forces for Troubles-related incidents carried out until 1998. The Committee said it was for the Government to decide on the statute.

Dr Farry said it was an idea which should be rejected, as every victim deserved access to justice and every crime should be investigated on their merits.

“Justice should be available to all and the rule of law should apply equally to everyone. In all cases, we should follow the evidence to wherever that leads. Members of the armed forces should be treated exactly the same as anyone else in a similar situation and if they carried out illegal killings during the Troubles, they too should be subject to prosecution should the evidence give rise to it.

“This would in effect, be an amnesty. Every victim deserves the right to an investigation and justice where possible. We have already seen the reaction to the grubby on-the-runs deal, which only served to compound the hurt felt by those who have suffered. It would also be an insult to all those members of the armed forces who served throughout the Troubles with honour.

“Alliance raised this matter with the Secretary of State during a meeting today and will write to the UK Defence Secretary to confirm our opposition. It would be a breach of the Stormont House Agreement, which settled the policy on legacy, and the UK Government risks creating uncertainty even entertaining such a statute.”

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