It is being argued the British Army should not be prosecuted for war crimes committed in Northern Ireland. The argument goes that if the terrorists can get away with their crimes because of The Belfast Agreement, then it is only fair the Army does too. But this assumes there was a level playing field in a combat between terrorists and the Army. Yet that is not how it was. The Army was called in to support the police; the Army were there as a policing force. The combat was between the loyalists and nationalists, between paramilitary republicans and paramilitary unionists; the Army were apart from them and intended to keep the peace. As such, they are not exempt from adhering to civil, military and international laws.
It is indeed unfair that at an individual level a squaddie should be subject to laws and punishment that a terrorist is not. But that is how it must be: the police who uphold the law must be subject to those laws. And that includes the Army when they are the police force. It is also unrealistic to compare the expectations of behaviour of a salaried, trained, professional soldier with a support structure and command structure to a civil terrorist operating within a totally different social environment and structure. Yes, it is reasonable to expect the Army not to be criminal in their operations and so yes it is reasonable to expect them to be subject to punishment if they break the law, especially when they are there to keep the peace.
The state and its agents must work within the law or they are not entitled to be in their position of authority. Unless, of course, we are to live in a criminal autocracy or dictatorship where the agents of the state can kill its citizens without fear of redress.
Because once the British Army is granted exemption from law in their operations, they will be expected to commit war crimes as expedient ways to achieve results. And then we will be the bad guys.