DUBLIN (Agencies): Dublin has decided to pursue legal action against the UK over the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act, which potentially provides immunity for crimes committed during the conflict in Northern Ireland. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the inter-state case, stating it would be taken to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
The controversial law, in force since September, assigns investigations of historical cases to the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, potentially granting immunity to perpetrators who testify.
Deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin expressed concerns that the act may hinder existing avenues for truth and justice in historic cases, impacting inquests, police investigations, ombudsman investigations, and civil actions. The legislation, opposed by many in Northern Ireland, has faced criticism from human rights groups and victims of the conflict. UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris called Ireland’s legal action unnecessary, asserting the act aims to facilitate victims and survivors in obtaining information more efficiently.
The Troubles in Northern Ireland, a violent conflict between unionists and nationalists, resulted in over 3,600 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries. Amnesty International welcomed Dublin’s decision, criticizing the act for potentially shielding perpetrators of human rights violations. The conflict involved cases of collusion and wrongful imprisonment, and the Legacy Act has faced rejection from various quarters.