World War I: Pardons

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th February 2006.

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Photo of Lord Brightman Lord Brightman Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will introduce a Bill to pardon members of the British forces in World War I who were shot for alleged cowardice and similar breaches of duty.

Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence Procurement), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

The Government's position was reached after the detailed review whose findings were announced in 1998. This examined with great care and sympathy the issues and the cases of those executed. It recognised that the test for a pardon under the Royal prerogative sets a very high threshold and concluded that it would not be fair to put these cases to this test, just to see most and possibly all of them fail because we lack the required level of evidence. However, all these men are now recognised as victims of a terrible war and honoured among their fallen comrades, the stigma of their execution removed.

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