Rights Watch (UK) is stunned by the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland’s statement proposing the end of all prosecutions, inquests and other inquiries into conflict-related deaths in Northern Ireland. What has been suggested is nothing short of a de facto amnesty, which proposes bulldozing away rights of access to justice. We welcome the fact that political leaders across the spectrum have already repudiated and dismissed this call.
Susan Bryant, Director of Rights Watch UK said:
“This proposal ignores the crucial issue of individual criminal responsibility, as well as the larger issue of state accountability. It is our strong view that both individuals and state authorities must be held to account. The victims, their families and the wider community deserve no less. We welcome the Attorney General’s offer to disclose relevant material that is in the government’s control. However we reject the notion that such disclosure is conditional upon the abandonment of prosecutions, investigations and inquests.”
Difficulties around the disclosure process itself account for much of the ineffectiveness and delay attending these processes. This is not a quick fix but actually indicates a fundamental lack of understanding as to the complexities and vagaries of the mechanisms already in play.
As Attorney General, Mr Larkin has responsibility for the appointment of the Director and Deputy Director of the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland. It cannot be right that he seeks to undermine their independence. Decisions about prosecution must be free from any political interference.
For more information on this release contact Yasmine Ahmed (Director) on (+44) 0208 004 0941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org