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Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland : Implementing the Stormont House Agreement - Conference Report and Model Bill

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A major conference organised by Amnesty International Northern Ireland, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (QUB) and the Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University) took place on the 18 May 2015  to discuss, examine and provide an independent perspective on the key elements of the Stormont House Agreement legislation outlined briefly below. 

This included presentation of elements of a draft Model Bill to implement the Agreement prepared by a drafting team comprised of representatives of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), individual academics, visiting scholars from the Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) and the Ulster University.

The December 2014 Stormont House Agreement provides for a set of new institutions to deal with the past in Northern Ireland namely:

-          The Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) ‘an independent body to take forward investigations into outstanding Troubles-related deaths’

-          An Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) ‘to enable victims and survivors to seek and privately receive information about the deaths of their next of kin’

-          An Oral History Archive ‘ to provide a central place to share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles’

-          An Implementation and Reconciliation Group ‘to oversee themes, archives, and information recovery’

The SHA also provides that recommendations for services for victims and survivors including a Mental Trauma Service.

The implementation of the above SHA commitments will require detailed legislation. Government has committed to introducing this legislation into Westminster in October. On the 18 May 2015 a major conference was held to discuss, examine and provide an independent perspective on the key elements of such legislation.

This conference included presentation of elements of a draft Model Bill to implement the Agreement prepared by a drafting team comprised of representatives of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), individual academics, visiting scholars from the Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) and the Ulster University.

The final Model implementation bill was launched on 16 September 2016, amended following discussion and feedback at the conference in May.

Videos to supplement the conference report can be found on the CAJ YouTube Channel HERE

A report 'Gender Principles for Dealing with the Legacy of the Past' (see above) was launched on 15 September 2015 in the Long Gallery, Stormont by the Legacy Gender Integration Group. This group is an independent initiative made up of individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives who came together to produce 10 key principles to be taken into account when developing the institutions and processes laid out in the SHA to include a gender lens.