Oscar-nominated actor Ciaran Hinds has called on British Prime Minister Liz Truss to scrap a controversial bill aimed at resolving Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, which proposes an effective amnesty for Troubles crimes for people who cooperate with an intelligence agency, has sparked widespread opposition.
It is set to go to the House of Lords for second reading in the coming weeks when Parliament returns.
Hinds wrote an open letter to Mrs Truss, warning that the bill would “permanently cut off any prospect of justice” for bereaved families.
The Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy star has called for a reconsideration of the bill, which he says victims of the Troubles are unanimously against.
He recently starred in the Kenneth Branagh hit Belfast, for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and said it showed how terrifying and violent the Troubles were.
“For the many families who lost loved ones, this chapter is not closed and cannot be without the healing that only true justice can bring,” wrote the Belfast-born actor.
“The rule of law must apply to everyone, without favoritism. No one, be it a state or non-state actor, should be above the law.
“I stand with the victims’ mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, partners and grandparents and all those who are united in strong opposition to your proposals in the Inheritance Bill to permanently deny the Troubles victims access to justice.
“Victims deserve the same access to justice whether they are in Belfast or Bristol, Derry or Durham.”
Hinds raised the killing of 12-year-old Majella O’Hare, who was shot in the back by a soldier, noting that her brother Michael has “fought for 44 years for the independent investigation that they are entitled to”.
He concluded the letter by writing, “Everyone has a right to justice.”
Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Deputy Program Director for Amnesty International UK, welcomed the letter.
“Liz Truss has an opportunity to quickly abandon this deeply unjust and cruel law and send a message that she stands with victims, for justice and the rule of law. Victims rightly expect and demand accountability,” she said.
“No one should be allowed to get away with murder, torture and other serious violations.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing.
“All eyes are on the Prime Minister’s next move. Will her tenure be a departure from this horrific assault on rights, or will she protect the perpetrators of horrific crimes at the expense of the victims.”
There is almost universal opposition to the proposed legislation, which would give an effective amnesty to people accused of Troubles offenses as long as they cooperate with a new truth recovery body.
It will also halt future civil suits and investigations into killings during the conflict.
The Bill has been through the House of Commons and is set for consideration in the House of Lords.