Amnesty proposes denial of rule of law, says former police ombudsperson


Former Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan called the UK government’s proposals for a so-called amnesty in Northern Ireland “unacceptable” and “a denial of the rule of law”.

She said the statute of limitations projects were a denial of justice.

Baroness O’Loan was speaking at a cross-community event, where a group of Troubles victims discussed the government’s legacy proposals.

She said the proposals were an “extraordinary and terrible shock” to the people of Northern Ireland.

(left to right) Billy McManus, John Teggart, Raymond McCord, Julie Hambleton, Michael Gallagher, Cathy McIlvenny and Eugene Reavey campaign against amnesty (Liam McBurney / PA)

(PA wire)

“They came in direct contradiction to all the promises they made,” she added.

“The proposals we had to deal with the past were not adequate, but they were something, and they included an investigation and the possibility of prosecution.

“What appears to have happened is that the government bowed to a small but very powerful constituency, which had pushed for an end to all inquiries related to the unrest.”

She added: “The government’s proposals are unacceptable. The first is that they constitute a denial of the rule of law.

“They contradict everything we have taught the world about justice, truth and criminal procedure.

This proposal, which will remove all legal rights from all victims in Northern Ireland and elsewhere of the unrest, has never been the subject of normal consultation

Baroness Nuala O’Loan

“The second is that the concerns of victims are not addressed at all in the proposals, despite the government’s claims.

“The amnesty is a denial of justice and it is wrong. The victims were not consulted either.

“This proposal, which will remove all legal rights from all victims in Northern Ireland and elsewhere of the unrest, has never been the subject of normal consultation.”

In July, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced plans for a statute of limitations that would end all prosecutions for the Troubles incidents until April 1998, and would apply to military veterans as well as the ex-paramilitaries.

The proposals, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “end the unrest”, would also end all inquiries and civil actions related to the conflict.

Raymond McCord, whose son was killed by loyalists, was among those who spoke at the event.

“Boris Johnson tells us this will help us move forward. I want to know, spend what? Mr McCord said.

“I don’t have an answer to that. He didn’t tell us where we were starting from and what we were going to move on.

Victims activist Raymond McCord (Niall Carson / PA)

(AP Archives)

“These are the words of an idiot and the words of a man who is afraid of the truth.

“We are not afraid of it.”

Julie Hambleton, whose sister was killed in the 1974 IRA bombing in Birmingham, said: “I think we need to unravel Republican, Loyalist and State collusion, which we know now has been so deep during the conflict and continues to be deeper than ever. thought.

“Grievances will only continue if victims are denied truth, justice and accountability.

“It wasn’t a dirty war, it was a toxic conflict, a war, a terrorist campaign.

“Members of government are determined to protect their positions at all costs.

“Amnesia against responsibility. What would it be? “

We don’t always agree, but what we agree is that the government needs to be held accountable for what happened

Michael gallagher

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the Omagh bombing, said: “Boris Johnson says this new bill will improve community relations and break down barriers.

“Well, people on this panel, we don’t need to break down barriers, we have broken them ourselves.

“We come from different backgrounds. We don’t always agree, but what we do agree is that the government should be held accountable for what happened.

Eugene Reavey, whose brothers John Martin, Brian and Anthony were shot dead by loyalist paramilitary Glenanne Gang in 1976, has said the amnesty is “outrageous”.

“We have been fighting this case for years and years and years,” he said.

“If there won’t be justice, I don’t know what’s going to happen. “

Sarah McKeegan, whose police father was killed, said: “Boris Johnson is right that the current focus on criminal justice is not working, but it is most misleading in the way he proposes there. remedy.

“I don’t think any new plans for the truth and the recovery process will be victim-centered in any way. How can they only be known when the state is hiding behind certificates of public interest immunity. “

A memorial to the men killed in the February 1992 attack on Sean Graham’s bookmakers (PA)

(AP Archives)

Billy McManus, whose father was killed in the loyalist attack on bookies Sean Graham in Belfast in 1992, said: “This amnesty only hides the truth.

“British soldiers, RUC, UDR officers, innocent people on both sides and they want an amnesty. Ask yourself why.

“The British government has the blood of the murder on their hands and they want to wash it off with an amnesty.”

Kate Nash, whose brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, said: “I will never agree to an amnesty. Not for the soldiers, not for the IRA, not for the UVF, or anyone.

“You cannot put people above the law. You cannot have innocent people murdered.

“The state should have a higher standard and I think you would hold them to a higher standard. They must be held accountable for what they have done in this country.

John Teggart, whose father died in the Ballymurphy massacre, said: “The murder should be investigated. The legal system must be used in all ways.

“We cannot have a government that changes the laws.”


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