Investigations, Prosecutions, and the 'Public Interest'
Gordon Anthony, Luke Moffett, Kieran McEvoy and Louise Mallinder, Investigations, Prosecutions, and the ‘Public Interest’ (Amnesties, Prosecutions and the Public Interest in the Northern Ireland Transition project, 2015)
26 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 25, 2016
This report examines the role that investigations and prosecutions play in the context of the Northern Ireland transition by considering Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the need for the State to investigate the use of force by state actors. This discussion considers the nature of the Article 2 obligations and the possibility that the mechanisms for dealing with the past proposed in the Stormont House Agreement (2014) will comply with these obligations. The report also reviews the ‘systematic failures’ that have arisen in previous efforts to investigate past crimes in Northern Ireland and it provides a detailed examination of some of the commonly occurring problems faced in criminal investigations into historic offences. In this analysis, it focuses in particular on the power of public prosecutors to decline to prosecute cases that are not in the public interest, as well as the implications of the Early Release Scheme on future prosecutions of conflict-related offences. This report is produced as part of AHRC-funded project on Amnesties, Prosecutions, and the Public Interest in the Northern Ireland Transition.
Keywords: Northern Ireland, right to life, prosecuting historic cases, duty to investigate, Stormont House Agreement, public interest, Early Release Scheme
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