Northern Ireland news

Congressional commission hearing into British government amnesty plans

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice
Connla Young

A US Congress commission is set to hold a hearing into British government proposals to introduce a Troubles amnesty.

Under the proposals revealed by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis last summer, Westminster officials intend to introduce a statute of limitations, a de-facto amnesty, for Troubles-related incidents.

The Conservative government also plans to end conflict-related civil proceedings and inquests.

Legislation had been expected before Christmas but this date has slipped and it has since been reported that the contentious bill may not become law until the summer or late spring.

The hearing will be hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and will include witnesses from several organisations and campaign groups who will take part remotely.

Jon Boutcher, who heads up Operation Kenova, is also expected to give evidence.

A team led by the former English police chief is currently involved in several major investigations including examining the activities of the British agent known as Stakeknife.

Others expected to take part include Geraldine Finucane, wife of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane, who was shot dead by the UDA on this day in 1989 and Alan McBride, whose wife Sharon was killed in the IRAs 1993 Shankill bomb.

Louise Mallander from the Committee on the Administration of Justice and Mark Thompson of Relatives of Justice will also take part Tuesday's session.

Mr Thompson last night said this is a" welcome intervention from the US Congress".

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