Proposals in Relation to On the Runs

  • Country/entity

    Ireland
    United Kingdom
    Northern Ireland
  • Region

    Europe and Eurasia
    Europe and Eurasia
    Europe and Eurasia
  • Agreement name

    Proposals in Relation to On the Runs
  • Date

    1 May 2003
  • Agreement status

    Multiparty signed/agreed
  • Interim arrangement

    Yes
  • Agreement/conflict level

    Interstate/intrastate conflict(s) ()
  • Stage

    Implementation/renegotiation
  • Conflict nature

    Government/territory
  • Peace process

    Northern Ireland peace process
  • Parties

    UK government, Irish Government
  • Third parties

    -
  • Description

    Both governments agree to make parallel commitments to develop specialised judicial mechanisms for accelerated adjudication and immediate release on license for all qualifying 'on-the-runs' residing outside the UK and Ireland seeking to return to either of these jurisdictions. While these are framed as 'proposals', they were accepted by the two governments, and by most of the parties, but ultimately implementing legislation was never introduced because its detail could not be agreed. Informal arrangements for dealing with 'On the runs' were provided for.


Groups

  • Children/youth

    No specific mention.

  • Disabled persons

    No specific mention.

  • Elderly/age

    No specific mention.

  • Migrant workers

    No specific mention.

  • Racial/ethnic/national group

    No specific mention.

  • Religious groups

    No specific mention.

  • Indigenous people

    No specific mention.

  • Other groups

    No specific mention.

  • Refugees/displaced persons

    No specific mention.

  • Social class

    No specific mention.


Gender

  • Women, girls and gender

    No specific mention.

  • Men and boys

    No specific mention.

  • LGBTI

    No specific mention.

  • Family

    No specific mention.


State definition

  • Nature of state (general)

    No specific mention.

  • State configuration

    No specific mention.

  • Self determination

    No specific mention.

  • Referendum

    No specific mention.

  • State symbols

    No specific mention.

  • Independence/secession

    No specific mention.

  • Accession/unification

    No specific mention.

  • Border delimitation

    No specific mention.

  • Cross-border provision

    No specific mention.


Governance

  • Political institutions (new or reformed)

    No specific mention.

  • Elections

    No specific mention.

  • Electoral commission

    No specific mention.

  • Political parties reform

    No specific mention.

  • Civil society

    No specific mention.

  • Traditional/religious leaders

    No specific mention.

  • Public administration

    No specific mention.

  • Constitution

    No specific mention.


Power sharing

  • Political power sharing

    No specific mention.

  • Territorial power sharing

    No specific mention.

  • Economic power sharing

    No specific mention.

  • Military power sharing

    No specific mention.


Human rights and equality

  • Human rights/RoL general

    No specific mention.

  • Bill of rights/similar

    No specific mention.

  • Treaty incorporation

    No specific mention.

  • Civil and political rights
    Human rights and equality→Civil and political rights→Fair trial
    Page 3, 11.
    There would be normal rights of appeal against conviction or sentence.
  • Socio-economic rights

    No specific mention.


Rights related issues

  • Citizenship

    No specific mention.

  • Democracy

    No specific mention.

  • Detention procedures

    No specific mention.

  • Media and communication

    No specific mention.

  • Mobility/access

    No specific mention.

  • Protection measures

    No specific mention.

  • Other

    No specific mention.


Rights institutions

  • NHRI

    No specific mention.

  • Regional or international human rights institutions

    No specific mention.


Justice sector reform

  • Criminal justice and emergency law
    Justice sector reform→Criminal justice and emergency law→Reform to specific laws
    Page 2, 4.
    Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme. A qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10 April 1998. It would include offences committed by, or in the course of, escaping, or committed as part of an incident involving a scheduled offence. A qualifying person would be someone:
    • who was not a supporter of a specified organisation;
    • who was not currently involved in acts of terrorism; and
    • who had not been convicted of a serious offence committed after 10 April 1998 for which he had received a sentence of five years or more.

    Page 3, 9.
    In the event of conviction, the Special Judicial Tribunal would pass sentence, but the person convicted would immediately qualify for the early release scheme. The Eligibility Body would exercise the relevant powers of the Sentence Review Commission under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. There would be two significant changes to the Act:
    • the existing two year minimum period in custody would be reduced to zero;
    • the requirement that, to qualify, the sentence needed to be of at least five years would be removed.
    Justice sector reform→Criminal justice and emergency law→Criminal Justice System reform
    Page 2, 1
    Within a context of acts of completion, the British Government would bring before Parliament the legislation necessary to resolve outstanding cases on a basis involving due judicial process, and showing sensitivity to the position of victims. The Irish Government would address similar cases in its jurisdiction. A related issue would be the complete ending of exiling and allowing those exiled to return.
  • State of emergency provisions

    No specific mention.

  • Judiciary and courts
    Page 2, 7.
    Once a certificate had been granted, the matter would be passed to a Special Judicial Tribunal, with the powers of a criminal court, consisting of a senior judge (but no jury). The relevant prosecuting authorities would be able to bring charges before the Special Judicial Tribunal against any person whom the Eligibility Commission had declared eligible. The applicant would not be required to be present at the trial. He would be able to plead not guilty and, if he wished, instruct a defence to be mounted. The Special Judicial Tribunal would not have the power to remand in custody.
  • Prisons and detention

    No specific mention.

  • Traditional Laws

    No specific mention.


Socio-economic reconstruction

  • Development or socio-economic reconstruction

    No specific mention.

  • National economic plan

    No specific mention.

  • Natural resources

    No specific mention.

  • International funds

    No specific mention.

  • Business

    No specific mention.

  • Taxation

    No specific mention.

  • Banks

    No specific mention.


Land, property and environment

  • Land reform/rights

    No specific mention.

  • Pastoralist/nomadism rights

    No specific mention.

  • Cultural heritage

    No specific mention.

  • Environment

    No specific mention.

  • Water or riparian rights or access

    No specific mention.


Security sector

  • Security Guarantees

    No specific mention.

  • Ceasefire

    No specific mention.

  • Police

    No specific mention.

  • Armed forces

    No specific mention.

  • DDR

    No specific mention.

  • Intelligence services

    No specific mention.

  • Parastatal/rebel and opposition group forces

    No specific mention.

  • Withdrawal of foreign forces

    No specific mention.

  • Corruption

    No specific mention.

  • Crime/organised crime

    No specific mention.

  • Drugs

    No specific mention.

  • Terrorism
    Page 2, 4.
    Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme. A qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10 April 1998. It would include offences committed by, or in the course of, escaping, or committed as part of an incident involving a scheduled offence. A qualifying person would be someone:
    ... • who was not currently involved in acts of terrorism;...

    Page 2, 5.
    An individual who believed that he was covered by the terms of the legislation would apply in writing to an Eligibility Body. The applicant or his representative would be asked to confirm that he was not a supporter of a specified organisation. The Eligibility Body would ask the Secretary of State for information, including details of any charges brought in relation to offences allegedly committed after 10 April 1998, and any information on whether the applicant is a supporter of a specified organisation or is involved in terrorism. The information from the applicant and the Secretary of State would be considered and a determination reached as to the eligibility of the individual against the criteria set out above.

    Page 3, 10.
    On receiving a determinate sentence the individual would be immediately released on licence. The licence could be revoked and the sentence passed by the Special Judicial Tribunal effected. This would happen if:
    ... • the individual became involved in terrorism;...

Transitional justice

  • Transitional justice general

    No specific mention.

  • Amnesty/pardon
    Transitional justice→Amnesty/pardon→Relief of other sanctions
    [Summary: The agreement in its entirety deals with those who would otherwise be eligible for prison.]

    Page 2, 1.
    ...A related issue would be the complete ending of exiling and allowing those exiled to return.

    Page 2, 7.
    Once someone had been declared eligible, he or she would be free to return to Northern Ireland without risk of arrest for questioning or charge in relation to a qualifying offence.
  • Courts
    Transitional justice→Courts→National courts
    Page 2, 5.
    An individual who believed that he was covered by the terms of the legislation would apply in writing to an Eligibility Body. The applicant or his representative would be asked to confirm that he was not a supporter of a specified organisation. The Eligibility Body would ask the Secretary of State for information, including details of any charges brought in relation to offences allegedly committed after 10 April 1998, and any information on whether the applicant is a supporter of a specified organisation or is involved in terrorism. The information from the applicant and the Secretary of State would be considered and a determination reached as to the eligibility of the individual against the criteria set out above.

    Page 2, 6.
    The applicant or the Secretary of State would be entitled to challenge the determination. Where the material on which a challenge was based was of a sensitive nature, procedures would be put in place to ensure that it was safeguarded.

    Page 3, 8.
    Once a certificate had been granted, the matter would be passed to a Special Judicial Tribunal, with the powers of a criminal court, consisting of a senior judge (but no jury). The relevant prosecuting authorities would be able to bring charges before the Special Judicial Tribunal against any person whom the Eligibility Commission had declared eligible. The applicant would not be required to be present at the trial. He would be able to plead not guilty and, if he wished, instruct a defence to be mounted. The Special Judicial Tribunal would not have the power to remand in custody.

    Page 3, 9.
    In the event of conviction, the Special Judicial Tribunal would pass sentence, but the person convicted would immediately qualify for the early release scheme. The Eligibility Body would exercise the relevant powers of the Sentence Review Commission under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. There would be two significant changes to the Act:
    • the existing two year minimum period in custody would be reduced to zero;
    • the requirement that, to qualify, the sentence needed to be of at least five years would be removed.

    Page 3, 10.
    On receiving a determinate sentence the individual would be immediately released on licence. The licence could be revoked and the sentence passed by the Special Judicial Tribunal effected. This would happen if:
    • the cease-fire of the organisation of which the individual was a supporter broke down, and it therefore became a specified organisation; or
    • the individual became a supporter of a specified organisation; or
    • the individual became involved in terrorism; or
    • the individual committed a serious crime for which he received a sentence of 5 or more years. In the case of individuals receiving a life sentence, an assessment would have to be made of whether the individual was a danger to the public before he or she could be released on licence.

    Page 3, 11.
    There would be normal rights of appeal against conviction or sentence.
  • Mechanism

    No specific mention.

  • Prisoner release

    No specific mention.

  • Vetting

    No specific mention.

  • Victims
    Page 2, 1
    Within a context of acts of completion, the British Government would bring before Parliament the legislation necessary to resolve outstanding cases on a basis involving due judicial process, and showing sensitivity to the position of victims. The Irish Government would address similar cases in its jurisdiction. A related issue would be the complete ending of exiling and allowing those exiled to return.
  • Missing persons

    No specific mention.

  • Reparations

    No specific mention.

  • Reconciliation

    No specific mention.


Implementation

  • UN signatory

    No specific mention.

  • Other international signatory

    No specific mention.

  • Referendum for agreement

    No specific mention.

  • International mission/force/similar

    No specific mention.

  • Enforcement mechanism

    No specific mention.

  • Related cases

    No specific mention.

  • Source
    Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, copy on file with author.

PROPOSALS IN RELATION TO ON THE RUNS (OTRs)

APRIL 2003

1. Within a context of acts of completion, the British Government would bring before Parliament the legislation necessary to resolve outstanding cases on a basis involving due judicial process, and showing sensitivity to the position of victims.

The Irish Government would address similar cases in its jurisdiction.

A related issue would be the complete ending of exiling and allowing those exiled to return.

2. This paper outlines the proposals for the British legislation.

3. There would be two elements to the process - a body to establish eligibility for the scheme and a special judicial tribunal to hear cases.

4. Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme.

A qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10 April 1998.

It would include offences committed by, or in the course of, escaping, or committed as part of an incident involving a scheduled offence.

A qualifying person would be someone:

• who was not a supporter of a specified organisation;

• who was not currently involved in acts of terrorism;

and

• who had not been convicted of a serious offence committed after 10 April 1998 for which he had received a sentence of five years or more.

5. An individual who believed that he was covered by the terms of the legislation would apply in writing to an Eligibility Body.

The applicant or his

representative would be asked to confirm that he was not a supporter of a specified organisation.

The Eligibility Body would ask the Secretary of State for information, including details of any charges brought in relation to offences allegedly committed after 10 April 1998, and any information on whether the applicant is a supporter of a specified organisation or is involved in terrorism.

The information from the applicant and the Secretary of State would be considered and a determination reached as to the eligibility of the individual against the criteria set out above.

6. The applicant or the Secretary of State would be entitled to challenge the determination.

Where the material on which a challenge was based was of a sensitive nature, procedures would be put in place to ensure that it was safeguarded.

7. Once someone had been declared eligible, he or she would be free to return to Northern Ireland without risk of arrest for questioning or charge in relation to a qualifying offence.

8. Once a certificate had been granted, the matter would be passed to a Special Judicial Tribunal, with the powers of a criminal court, consisting of a senior judge (but no jury).

The relevant prosecuting authorities would be able to bring charges before the Special Judicial Tribunal against any person whom the Eligibility Commission had declared eligible.

The applicant would not be required to be present at the trial.

He would be able to plead not guilty and, if he wished, instruct a defence to be mounted.

The Special Judicial Tribunal would not have the power to remand in custody.

9. In the event of conviction, the Special Judicial Tribunal would pass sentence, but the person convicted would immediately qualify for the early release scheme.

The Eligibility Body would exercise the relevant powers of the Sentence Review Commission under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998.

There would be two significant changes to the Act:

• the existing two year minimum period in custody would be reduced to zero;

• the requirement that, to qualify, the sentence needed to be of at least five years would be removed.

10. On receiving a determinate sentence the individual would be immediately released on licence.

The licence could be revoked and the sentence passed by the Special Judicial Tribunal effected.

This would happen if:

• the cease-fire of the organisation of which the individual was a supporter broke down, and it therefore became a specified organisation;

or

• the individual became a supporter of a specified organisation;

or

• the individual became involved in terrorism;

or

• the individual committed a serious crime for which he received a sentence of 5 or more years.

In the case of individuals receiving a life sentence, an assessment would have to be made of whether the individual was a danger to the public before he or she could be released on licence.

11. There would be normal rights of appeal against conviction or sentence.