THE Sinn Féin party has called for the British government’s planned Troubles legacy bill to be scrapped as it remains “fundamentally flawed” despite attempts to modify the legislation.
Northern Ireland Office minister Lord Caine is currently working on amendments to the controversial legislation, which is making its way through Westminster's legislative process.
The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill seeks to limit prosecutions for crimes committed in Northern Ireland during the Troubles period.
The suggested law offers conditional immunity for those who cooperate with a proposed Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR).
It was formally introduced into the House of Commons on May 16, 2022, where the Bill passed on July 4, 2022.
As of January 24, it was back in the House of Lords for its Committee stage hearing, which concluded on May 11.
The legislation is now at the Report Stage, with Lord Caine making amendments to the proposed law before it returns to the House of Lords in June.
"I want to make sure the bill is very clear that reviews can include criminal investigations to a standard that meets our international obligations," Lord Caine told the BBC.
"I'm also looking at measures to bolster and boost the independence of the commission, after a number of criticisms that it gives the Northern Ireland secretary too many powers."
In response to Lord Caine’s statement, Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has called on the government to scrap the proposals entirely.
“The British Government continues to push ahead with its legacy bill despite opposition from victims, relatives, governments, human rights experts and the UN,” he said.
“Amendments will not change the fundamental flaws at the heart of this bill, and that’s the cynical attempt to block thousands of victims and families from getting truth and justice through the courts.
“This cruel and callous legislation is about one thing – cover up and letting British state forces who killed Irish citizens off the hook. It should be scrapped.”
The MP went on to call for the British and Irish governments to come together to “allow for dialogue” on the “issue of legacy”.
“I am reiterating Sinn Féin’s call for an urgent summit involving the British and Irish governments and political parties on the issue of legacy,” he said.
“If the British government is serious about upholding the legal right of victims and families to truth and justice, they will stop the passage of the Legacy Bill to allow for dialogue now.”
He added: “The legacy mechanisms agreed by the main political parties, the Irish government and the British government at Stormont House in 2014 is the best of dealing with legacy issues and that must be implemented in a human rights compliant manner without delay.”