Referendums were held on 22 May 1998 in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, people were asked: “Do you support the agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations on Northern Ireland and presented in Command Paper 3883?” The participation rate was 81.1 per cent, of which 71.1 per cent argued in favour of approval. In the Republic of Ireland, people were asked: “Do you support the proposed constitutional amendment contained in the stated bill, nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1998?” The participation rate was 55.6%, of which 94.4% supported the proposed amendment to the Constitution1. These include extra-military dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and Sinn Féin, for an agreement to restore the institutions. The talks failed, but a document published by governments detailing the changes to the Belfast agreement was known as the “comprehensive agreement.” However, on 26 September 2005, it was announced that the Provisional Republican Army of Ireland had completely closed its arsenal of weapons and had “taken it out of service”. Nevertheless, many trade unionists, especially the DUP, remained skeptical. Among the loyalist paramilitaries, only the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had decommissioned all weapons.  Further negotiations took place in October 2006 and resulted in the St Andrews Agreement. In the context of political violence during the riots, the agreement forced participants to find “exclusively democratic and peaceful means to resolve political differences.” Participants also noted that, as part of this comprehensive political agreement, the two governments have committed to proposing or supporting amendments to the Irish Constitution and UK legislation on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein had challenged the flag ordinance, which was rejected by a High Court judge on 4 October 2001.1″Symbols and emblems of Good Friday agreement”, BBC News, consulted on 7 February 2013, www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/schools/agreement/culture/symbols2…. The Good Friday Agreement provided for the creation of the International Independent Commission for Decommissioning (IICD) to monitor, review and verify the complete disarmament of all paramilitary organizations. The deadline for the end of disarmament was May 2000.
The Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act (1997), which received royal approval on 27 February 1997, had a provision in section 7 for the creation of an independent decommissioning commission. The law was passed before the agreement was signed in 1998. That is why the Independent International Commission for Decommissioning was established as soon as the agreement was signed and was led by Canadian General John de Chastelain (1 Disarmament did not begin in 1998).