An amnesty covering Troubles-related deaths would have to cover killings by both security forces and terror groups in order to be “constitutional”, it has been claimed.
Denis Bradley, one of the authors of a report into dealing with the legacy of the Troubles, said he believed the government is considering introducing a statute of limitations for killings in the conflict.
He added: “I think that they won’t be able to just do it for their own soldiers - they will have to do it for everybody to make it constitutional and to make it get through the courts.”
Mr Bradley, former vice-chair of the NI Policing Board, worked with Dr Robin Eames in 2009 to produce a report into dealing with legacy issues.
On Thursday evening, the pair took part in their first major joint interview since the publication of their report almost a decade ago.
Mr Bradley told BBC’s The View programme that if a statute of limitations was implemented, political parties in NI would “jump up and down, but behind the scenes they will be very relieved, and I think that will go for particularly Sinn Fein and the DUP”.
He added: “Internationally, it will be seen as probably breaking international rules and international law - but I think the British government will probably face that down.”
Mr Bradley said victims of would be left feeling “very betrayed”, but added: “I think that victims need to face something perhaps, if they aren’t going to get justice and truth - which I think is getting less and less likely as the years go past.
“I think, as it dominates and darkens our lives - all of our lives - then I think the victims need to also see that there are a lot of other ways of dealing with the past.
“They may have to settle for dealing with things like pensions and welfare, and good health facilities. I think that has to now become part of the discussion.”