Only amnesties here are de-facto and protect state forces and their agents.

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Mark Thompson of Relatives For Justice has a lengthy piece on the OTR issue over at the Compromise after Conflict blog and takes the opportunity to highlight the degree of attention this is getting in the media compared to that given his own organisation. He concludes though:

OTR letters are not amnesties but they are of legitimate concern to those affected by republicans much the same that the issues raised in this article are of equal concern to those affected by state violence and collusion.

The only amnesties that exist here are de-facto amnesties resulting from a deliberately flawed criminal justice process that existed for the duration of the conflict that protected the state’s interests overall and administered a policy of impunity to members of state forces and their agents.

These flaws were exposed in the May 2001 ECtHR Article 2 judgment of which Relatives for Justice were instrumental in bringing about. Now the outworking’s of that judgment are again being thwarted by the PSNI’s Legacy Unit, ironically staffed by unaccountable former Special Branch officers, the destruction of evidence held by the state, the use of public interest immunity certificates, and the usual prevaricating and delaying of inquests and legal proceedings. The tactic is deny, deny, deny and then delay, delay, delay.

That tactic also extends to the deliberate withholding of sufficient resources to meet the existing and growing needs of the coronial system and the Police Ombudsman given the legacy caseloads, and a simultaneous policy of hallowing out the legal aid system by the Department of Justice, previously the NIO, in a bid to curb future cases against the state.

These past week’s events have demonstrated two very clear points – hypocrisy and a hierarchy of victimhood. It’s the same old story that the only story and concern is what republicans did.

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  • iluvni

    “These past week’s events have demonstrated two very clear points – hypocrisy and a hierarchy of victimhood. It’s the same old story that the only story and concern is what republicans did.”

    …as opposed to RFJs sole concern about what was done to Republicans?

  • Mc Slaggart

    iluvni
    “Speaking out for the first time to the BBC’s Panorama programme, the former soldiers said they had been tasked with “hunting down” the IRA in west Belfast and admitted they broke the law while doing so.

    The unit, called the Military Reaction Force (MRF) and disbanded in 1973, would carry out drive-by shootings against unarmed people on the street without any independent evidence they were part of the IRA.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/undercover-british-soldiers-in-northern-ireland-terror-group-accused-of-killing-unarmed-civilians-8953769.html

  • between the bridges

    Themuns are always talking about usuns, but usuns only want to talk about themuns…

  • Mc Slaggart

    between the bridges

    “Themuns are always talking about usuns, but usuns only want to talk about themuns…”

    I am left to wonder who the usuns are? In the real world thinks are very complicated. My friend got blown up in Castlederg and though the troubles had friends who were in the UDR.

    People who had been in the British army despised the amateur UDR. It makes all their killings more troubling.

  • Old Mortality

    ” hallowing out the legal aid system by the Department of Justice, previously the NIO, in a bid to curb future cases against the state…”

    So absolutely nothing to do with curbing the outrageous fees paid from legal aid. However, it may well be leading to reduced donations to RfJ from grateful beneficiaries of its activities which must be upsetting for Mr Thompson.

  • sherdy

    Since the case of John Downey collapsed we have had politicians crying crocodile tears about how the OTR deal was adversely affecting victims of the troubles.

    If they now read the article by Mark Thompson about how the state has spent years prevaricating and lying about their obligations to their victims, can we now expect them to start campaigning for the British government to adopt a more humanitarian attitude?

    I will not hold my breath waiting for the sanctimonious sods!

  • aquifer

    The state does not like to admit that it has effective competitors, so puts state rights above human rights.

    SF also see themselves as a prototype state.

    So never be surprised that victims end up as the red meat in the sandwich.

  • IanR

    This case from last year is further proof that unionists’ outraged talk of an ‘amnesty’ was clearly hogwash:

    http://www.u.tv/News/Murder-conviction-vindictive-SF/7ffdcc3b-0c41-4843-944a-18528f57a4e2