British troops to be investigated over killings during the Troubles in Northern

first_imgAll British troops involved in fatal incidents during the Troubles in Northern Ireland are to face a fresh criminal investigation, it has been reported.As many as 1,000 former servicemen, many in their 60s and 70s, will be investigated and could be treated as murder or manslaughter suspects as part of a multi-million pound review.The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Legacy Investigation Branch will look at all 238 fatal incidents in which 302 people, many of them terrorists, died. Johnny Mercer has criticised the investigation Credit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph  A spokesman for Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Police investigations are always a matter for the PSNI, who act totally independently of Government.”But he added: “While this Government firmly believes in upholding the rule of law, we are concerned that investigations into Northern Ireland’s past focus almost entirely on former police officers and soldiers.“This is wrong, and does not reflect the fact that the overwhelming majority of those who served did so with great bravery and distinction.” Because the majority of the deaths involved shootings where more than one soldier opened fire, the probe is expected to include up to 1,000 former troops.According to The Sun, the investigation is expected to last for many years and will cost tens of millions of pounds.The decision to plough on with the investigation was met with fury last night especially given the fact that many terrorists involved in murders in the province were granted pardons under the Good Friday Agreement. Johnny Mercer Conservative James Brokenshire has said the majority of soldiers served with bravery and distinctionCredit:James Gourley /Rex / Shutterstock He told the newspaper: “If we could demonstrate in Government just some of the courage our Armed Forces have displayed over the years in Northern Ireland, the entire historical allegations money machine would end.” The decision to re-investigate all fatalities involving members of the Armed Forces follows a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary which said soldiers should have no additional protection from manslaughter or murder prosecutions just because they were on duty at the time. center_img Others were handed “letters of comfort” by Tony Blair promising they would never be prosecuted. Tory MP Johnny Mercer, a former Army officer who has campaigned against the hounding of troops by the legal system, described the review as a “brand new witch hunt”. James Brokenshire We are concerned that investigations into Northern Ireland’s past focus almost entirely on former police officers and soldiersJames Brokenshire spokesman Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img