'No amnesty' for Northern Ireland abuses | Belfast and Beyond | 10 Nov 2008 | Amnesty International UK

'No amnesty' for Northern Ireland abuses

A most welcome speech today from Denis Bradley, co-chair of the Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland.

In the speech, he declared more openly than ever before that the report from the Group would not be recommending any amnesty for past abuses committed in Northern Ireland:

"People have said to us – why not just stop everything that is going on – characterized in the phrase ‘draw a line in the sand’. I’m not sure they understand the magnitude of that statement.  Does this mean no more prosecutions? Well that would mean introducing a general amnesty.  Let me state in the clearest terms possible.  The vast majority of people do not want an amnesty – that was the clear message during our consultation. Also the international community is increasingly moving away from granting general amnesties.  There will be no amnesty recommended in our report."

Given the concerns that I started raising on this blog back in May (Northern Ireland: 'It must never happen again'), I am very pleased that the "no amnesty" message is now being delivered so clearly by Eames-Bradley. Perhaps our own efforts in Amnesty International locally to make sure that the lessons of our international research are learned here in Northern Ireland, have paid off in that significant phrase, "the international community is increasingly moving away from granting general amnesties."

By the by, Bradley also confirmed that, as I reported exclusively (!) here back in August,  the Group's report will not be published until the New Year, despite much speculation to the contrary.

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