What is the Good Friday Agreement?
The Good Friday Agreement, signed on 10 April, 1998, laid the foundations on which a lasting peace can be built in Northern Ireland to the benefit of all the people of this island.
Promoting the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement remains a primary objective of the Department.
To find out more about the different elements of the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Peace Process, visit the Anglo-Irish Relations/Peace Process page on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
What is the Independent Monitoring Commission?
The IMC was established by the Irish and British Governments following the signing of an international agreement on 25 November 2003. The Agreement provided that a new independent body would be created to monitor and report on the carrying out of commitments relating to the ending of paramilitary activity and the programme of security normalisation in Northern Ireland.
The IMC was established in January 2004 and its mandate was:
- to monitor and report on paramilitary activity (under Article 4 of the Agreement)
- to monitor the security normalisation measures undertaken by the British Government in the North (Article 5)
- to consider claims that NI Assembly members are not committed to non-violence or have breached the pledge of office (Article 6).
In their reports to both Governments, the IMC confirmed that the programme of security normalisation had been completed. The IMC also reported that those paramilitary groups who were committed to the peace process had ceased terrorist activity and, significantly, that the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning had confirmed that they have decommissioned their weapons.
Final Report of the IMC
The IMC delivered its 26th and final report to the Minister for Justice and Law Reform and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 12 March 2011 and was dissolved by Ministerial Order on 30 March 2011.
What is the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning?
The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) was established in 1997, to oversee the decommissioning of the weapons of paramilitary groups, under the Chairmanship of Canadian General John de Chastelain.
It was established by an Agreement between the Irish and British Governments, signed on the 26 August 1997 and by legislation enacted in both jurisdictions. Brigadier-General Tauno Nieminen (Finland) and Mr Andrew Sens (USA) were the other Commissioners.
Over the course of its existence the IICD successfully oversaw the decommissioning of the weapons of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, the Ulster Defence Association and related factions, the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Official Irish Republican Army, the Irish National Liberation Army and, most significantly, the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
In February 2010 the immunities which attached to the IICD's work were allowed to expire. These immunities enabled the IICD to undertake the decommissioning of weapons in co-operation with paramilitary groups without the members of those groups engaged in the decommissioning process being subject to prosecution.
In April 2010 the Governments formally requested a final report from the IICD, with a view to dissolving the body thereafter.
Final Report of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
The IICD delivered a final report to the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Office in March 2011.
The IICD was subsequently dissolved by Ministerial Order on 30 March 2011.