Legal threat against elderly Troubles veterans is appalling, says leading American general

General David Petraeus, a former coalition commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire
General David Petraeus, a former coalition commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire
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One of America’s most senior military officers says that it is “appalling” that a 92-year-old British general is at risk of Troubles legal actions.

General David Petraeus in today’s News Letter tells of his concern at so-called ‘lawfare’ against veterans of Northern Ireland, including the elderly General Sir Frank Kitson, who was head of the Army in the Province in the 1970s.

Gen Petraeus, pictured, in an article for the think tank Policy Exchange which we have permission to reprint, says: “The unfair pursuit of British soldiers and veterans in the aftermath of operations is particularly concerning.”

Gen Petraeus, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan, says human rights laws undermined UK authority to work with Nato allies there.

He adds: “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.”

• The article by General Petraeus is in our print edition and was put on our website later on Wednesday, click here