Veterans: Limitation of Actions

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Conservative, Aldershot

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will bring forward legislative proposals for a statute of limitations to protect British veterans of combat operations in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Iraq, (c) Afghanistan, (d) the Falklands and (e) all other combat theatres from (i) repeat prosecutions and (ii) unfounded historical allegations.

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

In respect of Northern Ireland, the Government believes that the institutions proposed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement are the best way to ensure a fair, balanced and proportionate approach to addressing the legacy of the past. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is currently consulting on how the Stormont House Agreement could be implemented. In recognition of the fact that others - such as the House of Commons Defence Committee - support different ways forward such as the creation of a statute of limitations, the NIO consultation includes an open question to allow those views to be expressed. The Government will consider all responses to the consultation before deciding on next steps.

In respect of Iraq, the Iraq Historical Allegations Team was closed in June 2017 and its remaining caseload passed to the service police, who expect their investigations to be substantially complete around the end of 2018.

On Afghanistan, Operation Northmoor has completed over 95% of its caseload. Investigations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2018.

The Ministry of Defence is not aware of any historic criminal investigations in respect of events in the Falklands or other combat theatres.

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