Law to prevent prosecution of NI veterans is unveiled today

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An independent commission will be set up to help families find out what happened to loved ones in cases involving former members of the security forces and ex-paramilitaries.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis will introduce the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill in Parliament today.

Mr Lewis said: “The current system is failing; it is delivering neither truth nor justice for the vast majority of families. It is letting down victims and veterans alike.”

The Daily Express crusade Betrayal Of Our Veterans has fought for more than four years for ex-troops to be given immunity for actions they took serving their country.

But the new legislation comes too late for veteran Dennis Hutchings – who died in October aged 80.

At the time, he was on trial for attempted murder following the fatal shooting of a man in County Tyrone in 1974.

The latest plans will offer immunity to those who co-operate with a new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery.

It aims to help people get information about Troubles-related deaths and serious injuries. It is also designed to produce a historical record of every death.

The proposals leave open the route of prosecution if individuals are not deemed to have earned their immunity.

More than 3,500 people were killed during the Troubles, including over 1,000 members of the security forces. Most deaths are attributed to republican paramilitaries while 30 percent are blamed on loyalist paramilitaries and 10 percent on security forces.

Mr Lewis added: “Immunity will be provided to individuals who cooperate… to give victims and their families answers they have sought for years.”

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