Twenty Years after: Statute of Limitations and the Asymmetric Burdens of Justice in Northern Ireland and Post-war Germany

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Abstract

In 2018, that is 20 years after the conclusion of the Belfast Agreement ending the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland known as the ‘Troubles’, the UK Government started a consultation on dealing with its legacy. The House of Commons Defence Committee proposes the enactment of a statute of limitations to shield veterans from further investigations into Troubles-related crimes. It would represent a ‘balanced’ approach to justice, as some paramilitary combatants had also received de facto amnesty through various schemes. This article argues that given the involvement of the British state in the historical conflict, a ‘balanced’ approach to dealing with the past is inadequate. Drawing on parallel parliamentary debates in Germany that began around 1965, that is also 20 years after the end of conflict, the article makes the case that an asymmetric approach is both promising and necessary for the reconciliation process to move forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-1004
Number of pages26
JournalParliamentary Affairs
Volume74
Issue number4
Early online date3 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • Northern Ireland
  • Vergangenheitsbewaltigung
  • amnesty
  • statute of limitations
  • transitional justice

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