US general condemns witch-hunt that sees soldiers who served in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and ’80s left open to prosecution
- General Petraeus said it’s appalling troops remain exposed to prosecution risk
- His intervention comes in report by think-tank resisting ‘judicialisation’ of war
- He wrote: ‘British soldiers are increasingly subject to a different legal regime than are their American counterparts’
General David Petraeus (pictured) will say it is appalling that troops who served in Northern Ireland remain exposed to the risk of prosecution decades on
A former US general today blasts Britain’s ‘unfair’ legal witch-hunt against soldiers and veterans.
General David Petraeus, who led coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, will say it is appalling that troops who served in Northern Ireland remain exposed to the risk of prosecution decades on.
His intervention comes in a report by a think-tank resisting the ‘judicialisation’ of war. General Petraeus wrote: ‘British soldiers are increasingly subject to a different legal regime than are their American counterparts.’
The former CIA chief said the extension of the European Convention on Human Rights to the battlefield had made ‘extensive litigation against British soldiers inevitable’, adding: ‘This, in turn, risks promoting a culture of risk aversion in the ranks.
‘The unfair pursuit of British soldiers and veterans in the aftermath of operations is particularly concerning. This has caused enormous stress and anxiety on those who are caught up in investigations, sometimes years or even decades after their combat service.
Boris Johnson (pictured) last night vowed to change the law to protect Northern Ireland veterans
‘The extent to which those who served decades ago in Northern Ireland, including the highly distinguished soldier-scholar General Sir Frank Kitson, remain exposed to legal risk is striking and appalling.
‘This is not only unfair to those who have served and sacrificed for their country, it also gravely undermines the morale of those serving now and raises an unnecessary concern for potential recruits.’
Professor Richard Ekins and Julie Marionneau, who wrote the Policy Exchange report, say ministers must maintain the policy of derogating from the ECHR in future battles, as promised by the Tory party.
The pair also argue that the Human Rights Act must be amended.