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Northern Ireland: government must reject attempts to compromise independence of justice system

Amnesty calls on UK and NI government ministers to support director of public prosecutions

Amnesty International has called on government ministers in Westminster and Stormont to defend the integrity and independence of the justice system in Northern Ireland, by rejecting accusations from backbench MPs that the director of public prosecutions is not carrying out his role impartially.

In recent weeks a number of Westminster MPs have accused Barra McGrory QC of not acting impartially by bringing prosecutions against a small number of former soldiers over killings during the Troubles.

Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan, said:

“A hallmark of any credible justice system is that law officers must be free from political interference in the execution of their duties.

“Those left bereaved by the violence in Northern Ireland have a human right to proper independent investigations, with the possibility of prosecutions if there is sufficient evidence. This is true, whatever the identity of the victim and whatever the identity of the perpetrator. Any attempt at political interference debases that fundamental principle.

“The political criticisms directed at Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions are an attack on the independence, integrity and impartiality of our justice system and its officers.

“The public has a right to expect that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the devolved Justice Minister will vigorously defend the independence of our justice system and, specifically, will reject attempts to undermine the integrity of the director of public prosecutions and his staff.”

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