Durkan calls for end to impunity

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has put down an early day motion in the House of Commons, calling for an end to impunity in the Armed Forces, inspired by the Peter McBride and Deepcut campaigns.

So far the motion has won support from Labour MPs Jim Dobbin and Joan Hubble, and Lib Dem Sarah Teather.

That this House welcomes the growing concensus that defence of the international rule of law requires maintenance of the strictest standards for military and enforcement agencies at all levels of the chain of command; deplores those regimes that routinely permit those found guilty of serious crimes to evade justice or resume their military careers after a short sentence; believes that a culture of impunity inevitably erodes military discipline and undermines any peacekeeping role the military is required to undertake; further believes that the armed forces should be an example in this regard and ensure its disciplinary system is beyond criticism; and urges the Government to affirm that human rights abusers, killers, rapists and bullies are permanently excluded from military service and to restore the certainty that any member of the armed services having been convicted by a court of the most serious of crimes such as murder, rape or torture shall be dismissed from service and may not resume a service career. (House of Commons EDM 1449)

Update 25 Jan: A total of 12 MPs from all major parties have now signed the EDM. The SDLP has also put out the following press release.


SDLP Leader Mark Durkan has tabled an all-party motion at Westminster urging the British Government to remove Human Rights abusers from the British Army.

Speaking from New York today Mr Durkan stated:

“This is another step in our campaign, working in partnership with other parties and the Pat Finucane Centre to demand that the British army lives up to proper Human Rights standards and stops excusing criminal behaviour by its members. I am delighted that Joan Humble and Jim Dobbin of the Labour Party and Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats are playing such a strong role in this campaign. The motion comes after our public meeting in Westminster at which some of the Deepcut families spoke. They feel a sense of insult and betrayal at being denied investigation, justice or truth for their sons who died in army barracks.

This Early Day Motion also comes today, the fifth anniversary of the death of Tony Green, who was shot at Ballykelly Barracks by a man who was convicted of manslaughter but then readmitted to the British Army and promoted. It also comes at a time when Jean McBride is still demanding a meeting with Tony Blair and the expulsion of the murderers of her son from the British Army.

Our motion demands that all those convicted of murder, rape, torture and other serious crimes, are expelled from the army. Armies are meant to protect the public, that’s why they shouldn’t have serving in their ranks those who have murdered, raped and tortured. It is as simple as that. As the next step in our campaign we will be proposing amendments to the Armed Forces Bill currently going through Westminster to make the principles behind our campaign requirements of law. If the British Government are at all serious about human rights we hope that they will get serious about this campaign and back our amendments and Early Day motion”. (SDLP)







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