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Protecting Veterans from Legal ‘Witch Hunt’, UK Military Might be Leaving ECHR | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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British Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured preparing her speech, Reuters

London- It has been an intimidating witch hunt– not just to British veterans but it has been intimidating to soldiers who worry that they too might find themselves being investigated 10 years from now- said Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense Sir Michael Fallon in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

Controversial plans for the UK military to opt out from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) during future conflicts will be introduced by ministers, to see off what had been described as an “industry of vexatious claims” against soldiers.

The proposition was announced on Tuesday at the Conservative party conference by Prime Minister Theresa May and Fallon. The plan, which was immediately faced with heated criticism by human rights groups, strives to protect soldiers and veterans from legal pursuit at EU human rights courts.

“Our troops must know we are on their side,” said May, while insisting that armed forces should not be hounded with “vexatious” Human Rights Act claims on the battlefield.

May also announced that human rights laws will be suspended on battlefield.

The PM said that the decided suspension of human rights laws will give British troops the “confidence when they go out into combat for us that they are able to do what is necessary to keep us safe.”

Defending the move, May said: “Our troops, our men and women of our armed forces go out there and put their lives on the line in order to defend us.

“They do things that most people wouldn’t be willing to do in terms of that, in terms of going out and potentially paying the ultimate sacrifice for us.”

More so, Fallon, in comments released ahead of his conference speech, said: “Our legal system has been abused to level false charges against our troops on an industrial scale.”

He added: “It has caused significant distress to people who risked their lives to protect us, it has cost the taxpayer millions and there is a real risk it will stop our armed forces doing their job.”