A former advisor to Conservative ministers in the Northern Ireland Office has said he would like to explore a legal protection for soldiers involved in Troubles fatalities.
Jonathan Caine told Forces News he opposed a statute of limitations for ex security force members, but could foresee other protections.
“There is absolutely no moral equivalence at all between a member of the armed forces or a police officer who is doing his or her duty to uphold the law but in the course of that might discharge a firearm with possibly fatal consequences and the action of a terrorist who deliberately sets out to murder, to take life,” Lord Caine said. “I wonder whether there’s a way of translating that moral distinction into law.”
He acknowledged that this might be difficult to achieve, but added: “I would like to sit down with lawyers, to see whether there is a way of doing that, frankly, because I think that would go some way possibly to giving the protections that many veterans deserve.”
Forces News reported he had said he would try to bring about that change as a member of the House of Lords.
The News Letter recently revealed that Lord Caine, who was seen as a unionist counter balance in the NIO to Ireland’s nationalist Department of Foreign Affairs, has not been kept on as an advisor to the new secretary of state, Julian Smith.
He told Forces News that “the army and the police are the real sort of heroes for me of the peace process”.
He said: “If you had said in the 90s that I would have established a working relationship with Martin McGuinness, I would have thought well this is nuts, it is never going to happen.
“I am absolutely clear that without the contribution and the role and the sacrifice of the armed forces and the of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, we would never have been in this position.”