THE family of a teenager gunned down by loyalists at his South Belfast home in 1975 have slammed a British Government plan that will give an amnesty to his killers.
On Wednesday afternoon, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis spoke in Parliament where he proposed the introduction of a statute of limitations on all conflict-related crimes prior to 1998.
The proposals have faced widespread opposition from victims, human rights organisations, a majority of the main political parties, and the Irish government.
The family of 18-year-old Joey Clarke, who died eight days after being shot at his home in the Ballynafeigh area, said the move was an attempt by the British Government to "protect themselves"
In Kenya the British used amnesty to benefit their security agencies and cover up their crimes. The colony's attorney general, Eric Griffith-Jones, sanctioned torture as long as the abuse was kept secret. "If we are going to sin," he wrote, "we must sin quietly."— Danny Morrison (@molloy1916) July 15, 2021
In a statement released jointly through the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten, the family stated: "Where would you start looking for truth in a democracy? Democratically all people here, all victims, are against it. It’s with democracy you start, then the next step is justice. Would Brandon Lewis say to the families of murder victims in London there will be no more investigations?”
The Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten, which represent over 230 families bereaved through the Troubles, said the Secretary of State's proposals amount to a "retrospective licence to kill" for the British Army and RUC.
"This is not about ‘all sides’," they said.
"Republicans and, to a lesser extent, loyalists were prosecuted and went to prison in their thousands. Soldiers and police were protected by the state and the criminal justice system. This is about protecting former British soldiers and ensuring that no proper investigations into collusion can take place."
Ministers are planning to end prosecutions for offences committed during the Troubles.— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 14, 2021
Northern Ireland Secretary @BrandonLewis tells @markaustintv that cases are "holding up the criminal justice system" and "failing people".
Read more: https://t.co/ZM2OZMgxkD pic.twitter.com/SXldKHQ5hF
The groups branded the move an "unprecedented intervention by London in the criminal justice system and the policing arrangements that were central to the Good Friday Agreement".
"These proposals show that Boris Johnson is running scared of the rule of law and human rights standards," the statement continued.
"These plans will further undermine confidence in policing and criminal justice structures. This will do nothing to further reconciliation between the peoples of these islands."