Ivor Bell, 77, who was a senior leader in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, was arrested at his home in Andersonstown on Tuesday.
He has been charged with aiding and abetting murder and membership of the IRA. He is expected to appear in court on Saturday.
Ivor Bell was part of an IRA delegation that held secret talks with the British government in London in 1972.
Among the delegation were Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.
Jean McConville, 37, became known as one of the Disappeared.
She was kidnapped in front of her children and accused of having been an informer. That claim was later dismissed following an official investigation.
She was held at one or more houses before being shot. Her body was recovered on a beach in County Louth in August 2003.
From an earlier BBC report, yesterday police had been granted until tonight to continue questioning him.
Adds The “official investigation” was of course by the NI Police Ombudsman, and was rejected by the Provisional IRA at the time . See also Mick’s post – “The IRA, Human Rights and the McConville case“.
Update From the PA report in the Irish Times
Ivor Bell (77) was refused bail when he appeared before a district judge in Belfast accused of aiding and abetting in the murder as well as membership of the IRA.
The court heard police moved against the pensioner on the basis of an interview he had given researchers compiling a Troubles archive at Boston College in America - tapes a US court ordered to be handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
And In a welcome move, Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, has suddenly discovered what due process means
In a statement today, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:
“Due process prevents me from commenting on the recent charging of a man in relation to the death of Jean McConville. This is now a matter for the courts.