Bill on weapons disposal published


THE Decommissioning Bill, designed to give effect to the report of the International Body chaired by Senator George Mitchell, was published by the Minister for Justice, Mrs Owen, yesterday.

The Bill makes provision for the Minister to make regulations in relation to the means by which arms may be decommissioned in this jurisdiction to include any or all of the methods identified in Senator Mitchell's report.

It provides for the establishment of an independent commission by agreement between the Irish and British governments.

It places a prohibition on the taking of proceedings in relation to an offence, where the act constituting the offence, or an act that is an ingredient of the offence, was part of the process of decommissioning.

It also prohibits the forensic examination or testing of arms made available for decommissioning, except in limited and specified circumstances. It provides that such arms, or information obtained in the course of decommissioning, will not be admissible by, or on behalf, of the State in proceedings for an offence.