This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government

Petition Introduce legal immunity for UK soldiers after a war or conflict ends

Introduce legal immunity for UK soldiers after a war or conflict ends to stop prosecution.
Please sign this petition for all UK soldiers to be pardoned/immune from prosecution after the end of any war or conflict for their service during it.

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It’s been suggested that 200+ UK veterans might be prosecuted, some of these date back to as much as 47 years ago!

It's about time this country unites and ends this once and for all for our soldiers.
Please sign and share if you are a soldier, connected to one or a civilian who just cares about how hard your soldiers work to keep you safe.


This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

38,040 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 1 May 2019

The Government is considering proposals to enhance legal protections for Service personnel.

Read the response in full

The Government has the utmost admiration and respect for the commitment and courage of all those who serve or have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. We rightly expect the highest standards of our Service personnel and the vast majority meet those expectations, performing exceptional feats in the most difficult circumstances.

But, like all citizens, our Service personnel are subject to the law. Specifically, Service Personnel must comply with Service Law (which includes the requirement to comply with the criminal law of England and Wales) whenever they are on operations, regardless of where those operations take place. In addition, Service personnel must act consistently with the UK’s obligations under international law including, where applicable, the law of armed conflict.

While no-one wants to see repeated investigations of members of the Armed Forces community many years after the event, domestic and international law oblige that credible allegations are properly investigated. In the case of alleged criminality, this means that it is for the Police to determine which matters are investigated, and subsequently for independent prosecuting authorities to determine whether prosecutions should follow. Both of these activities are rightly carried out independently of Government or politicians.

The Defence Secretary has established a dedicated team to examine all the options for how legal protections for current and former Service personnel, in connection with all historical operations and those to come, might be enhanced. The work is complementary to the inquiry being carried out by the House of Commons Defence Committee on the specific issue of a Statute of Limitations, which is due to report shortly. The team is working with colleagues across Government on a way ahead, including seeking a slot in the Parliamentary programme for legislation on legal protections for Service personnel.

The Government is very mindful of the impact that historical investigations can have on those affected by them. Where serving or former members of the Armed Forces face allegations arising from activities carried out as part of their duties, they receive full legal support and representation at the MOD’s expense, for as long as is necessary. This is the case regardless of the person’s length of service, the duration of any legal proceedings, and the length of time that has passed since the incident in question. In addition to legal support, veterans can also receive pastoral and welfare support as appropriate to their needs and circumstances. Often this support will be provided through the MOD’s ‘Veterans UK’ agency, but it can involve charities or other independent agencies as appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

Ministry of Defence