Colombia to issue extradition warrant

The BBC, and the Associated Press, report the response of Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos to the sudden re-appearance of James Monaghan and, presumably, the other two men who fled Colombia after being convicted of training FARC – “Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern must demonstrate his country’s commitment to the global fight against terrorism.” Meanwhile, along with the official denials of any deal with SF, the Irish Examiner rounds up the political reaction here.. and the British Government, via the NIO, has stated – “If they enter the UK, any extradition request will be dealt with without delay”

  • Comrade Stalin

    I am not a supporter of these people, or the FARC or SF or anyone else, but the Irish government will need to think about this one carefully. There were several serious problems with the trial that took place in Colombia.

  • peteb

    Comrade

    From the RTE report

    A spokesperson for the Department of Justice added: ‘We will fulfil international obligations subject to the scrutiny of the Irish courts.’

    Sounds like they are thinking carefully.

  • Keith M

    I’m sure if it was up to McDowell these guys would be on the next plance back to Bogota, but as I mentioned on the other thread, this is a case for the courts. The most likely outcome is that they will eith go underground (thereby denying SF/IRA any further publicity) or be re-arrested. The option of them serving their jail terms in Ireland must also be an option. It would be a win-win solution.

    The bigger story here is whether SF/IRA were in any way involved in bringing these criminals back. If they were, then last week’s statement has already been proven to be the nonsense that I always thought it was.

  • Friendly Fire

    This is about cocaine and FARC OFF.

    Interesting they turn up after this week’s media blather about ending the armed conflict.

    Expect IrishAid to throw a few mil into a gender project in Columbia…. all forgotten.

    Move on.

  • Harris

    These men should be allowed to live peacefully in Ireland. Don’t forget, that they were ACQUITTED of the most serious offence, and were let out due to time served on the passport offence, while of course pending an appeal. Their acquittal was largely based on shoddy evidence and tainted witnesses (who would have thought such a thing in Colombia), two of whom have been brought up on perjury charges since the original trial.

    The Attorney General’s immediate 17 year sentence, even after the shite evidence, confirms that this was a political move and that Colombia is as corrupt as ever.

  • mickhall

    On no account should these men be sent back to Columbia, nor made to serve there sentences at home in Ireland. The courts in Columbia are far from free of political pressure and there is no extradition treat between Columbia and Ireland as far as im aware, which speaks volumes in itself. One only has to spend a small amount of time googling Columbia to understand the above. Once again it seems US foreign policy is making a pigs ear of things; and the Columbians, like the Iraqi’s are the poor saps who have to pay the bill.

    Regards

    http://www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk/

  • George

    I am no lawyer but as there is no extradition treaty with Colombia and as they were acquitted by a public court there and found guilty by a closed appeal, which gave no explanation as to why it changed the verdict, I would assume this breaches Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that a person can only be detained “after conviction by a competent court”.

    Just as Tony Blair is considering pulling Britain out of the Convention and altering legislation so he can get the courts to deport people considered Muslim extremists to places like Egypt, I would assume Ireland would have to renege on its commitments to human rights to send these men back.

    While Blair knows the courts won’t deport these people as is and is therefore considering legislative changes to remove these people who are considered a threat to national security,
    would Ireland also have to introduce legislation and abdicate its commitment to human rights to send these men to Colombia?

  • Jacko

    MickHall
    “Once again it seems US foreign policy is making a pigs ear of things; and the Columbians, like the Iraqi’s are the poor saps who have to pay the bill.”

    Yes Mick. And fuck the poor innocent saps incinerated by provo technology. What sort of bill did they run up that they deserved to pay with their lives? Not much in the way of human rights protection where they are concerned, eh. But hey, just blame it on the yanks and welcome the quare lads back home.

  • mickhall

    Jacko
    There is nothing I can say to make you less angry with me and of course you have a point about the poor souls who had there lives stolen from them in the north/NI, never the less, I believe in the Pastor Martin Niemöller theory of human rights as best described in the short poem below.

    all the best

    Mick

    ‘First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.’

  • Jacko

    Mick
    I’m not angry with you. Besides, the poor incinerated saps I refer to are the Colombians killed by Farc’s newly aquired technology.

  • George

    Jacko,
    “the poor incinerated saps I refer to are the Colombians killed by Farc’s newly aquired technology.”

    What new technology was linked back to the PIRA specifically?

    The Cubans, Venezuela, ETA and lots of others have had their fingers in the FARC pie and I haven’t heard of any concrete evidence linking Provo-specific technology to FARC. Do you have some?

  • Chris Gaskin

    As usual Mickhall provides an excellant analysis.

    The Irish Supreme Court will not allow the governemnt to send the three men back to columbia.

    That is a certainty

  • Keith M

    Let’s get some facts into this thread. These men broke the law by travelling under false passports. Why did they feel a need to do that? They broke the law (of any country) by fleeing while their case was under appeal. Why did they do that? The FARC guerillas are now using IRA style mortar bombs to devestating effect. Who provided them with this expertese?

    George, the fact that a court is closed does not stop it from being “a competent court”. There are many closed courts throughout Europe (including Ireland). The only difference between the Irish and Colombian judicial processess, is that there (in common with most former French and Spanish colonies) Napoleonic code applies.

    mickhall “One only has to spend a small amount of time googling Columbia to understand the above.” Perhaps if you spend the time googling “Colombia” you might be better informed! Not that that would make a big difference, the net is full of left leaning and biased commentators who would have sympathy with a group like FARC, inspite of their bloodthirsty behaviour. No one is saying that the Colombian government is faultless, but if we applied that pre-condition to every extradition, this country would be a safe haven for every shade of murderer.

    I notice in all the hysterical nonsense on this and the other thread, no one has said that these people are innocent. For me that says a lot.

  • George

    Keithm,
    Disagree.

    Can you name a closed court in Europe which can overturn a previous ruling by a judge in an open court without reason?

    There is a difference between keeping the public out of a trial to protect the victim or the judicial process itself and refusing to explain the judicial process.

    The latter is a breach of human rights, the former is not.

  • George

    Keithm,
    the issue is whether they got a fair trial and whether they will get one if returned, not whether they are innocent or not.

    If you accept the initial trial was fair then you accept that they were acquitted on the major charges and were free to leave the country and shouldn’t be sent back.

    If you accept the prosecution appeal process was also fair, then you accept that the Irish government should investigate the legalities of extraditing Irish citizens to a country with which we don’t have an extradition treaty and leave it at that.

    If you accept neither the initial trial nor the appeal were fair then you don’t accept that they could get a fair trial and so they shouldn’t be sent back under any circumstances.

    You obviously believe the prosecution appeal although you, like the rest of us, don’t know why the judge changed the verdict. I find that strange myself but you appear to have no concerns about Colombian justice and are entitled to your opinion.

    However, I will let the Irish legal system reach its decision rather than looking to pass judgement.

  • Harris

    For those who want to disregard the corrupt circumstances of this case, understand a couple of things. From “Daily Ireland”:

    “The extradition of the three men to Colombia would be intolerable. Firstly, Colombia’s record on human rights is, quite frankly, horrific.
    There are countless documented cases, by respected organisations such as Amnesty, of people being falsely imprisoned, brutally tortured and killed for opposing the government, with right-wing death squads — equally as abhorrent as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) — operating with apparent impunity.
    Secondly, the case against the three men was riddled with inconsistencies and allegations of false evidence, and the testimony of witnesses — particularly two Farc deserters — was suspect to say the least.
    Thirdly, when the three men were cleared of the most serious charges against them, the government appealed the decision and then held the appeal hearing in secret, before finding them guilty in a two-to-one decision.
    Evidence by an Irish government official that Niall Connolly had been in Cuba when he was alleged to have been training the Farc was dismissed by the kangaroo court in Colombia.
    During all this, the men were held under appalling conditions, with their lives constantly in danger from members of right-wing death squads held in the same prison.
    Senator Mary White visited the men seven times. She says that their treatment was appalling and they were not getting a fair trial. The Irish government should not contemplate sending its citizens to be subject to the vagaries of the Colombian judicial system.”

  • Levitas

    It surprises me that no one has suggested the bleedin obvious about the Columbia Three case…anyone recall the Munro doctrine? This means that Everything, BUT everything, that goes down in narco/banana republics such as Columbia or anywhere else in latin america, does not happens without the tacit say-so of the USA…wherever they were…I’d wager the yanks had a say in ensuring their safe passage.Forget about Bertie, and forget even more about the DUP’s protestations, is’nt it just possible that their return was expedited by the US as an extra little bit of inducement to see the RA endgame?

  • Jacko

    Harris
    “From Daily Ireland”
    That’s when any point you wished to make lost credibility.
    It’s like quoting from the Protestant Telegraph to bolster something Paisley has said.

  • Jacko

    Levitas
    What would we do without the big bad Yanks to blame everything on? I suppose just fall back on the Brits, eh.

  • Keith M

    George “Can you name a closed court in Europe which can overturn a previous ruling by a judge in an open court without reason?”. Who said there wsn’t a reason? It hasn’t been made public, and I agree that the reasoning behind the verdict should be made public.

    “the issue is whether they got a fair trial and whether they will get one if returned, not whether they are innocent or not.” No, the issue is that justice should prevail, and the guilty should be punished.

    “If you accept the prosecution appeal process was also fair, then you accept that the Irish government should investigate the legalities of extraditing Irish citizens to a country with which we don’t have an extradition treaty and leave it at that.” It’s not about my (any anyone else’s) opinion of the Colombian judicial system, it’s about whether this country should be seen as a safe haven for terrorists.

    “However, I will let the Irish legal system reach its decision rather than looking to pass judgement.” Here’s where we agree. You see at the end of the day I believe in the Irish judicial system and would not attempt to subvert it. It’s a shame that SF/IRA don’t feel the same. Over the years they have tried at every attempt to avert the course of justice in this country, by intimidating jurors and witnesses. The torrent of nonsense from SF/IRA fellow travellers, complaining about the legal system in Colimbia on this and the other thread are hypocrisy of the highest order, when you consider what they have been up to in the past.

  • spartacus

    Keith is obviously jumping threads in order to avoid facing up to the FACT that his ‘facts’ are not facts at all. I’ve dealt with the falsehood being peddled by all shades of unionism (Trimble started it, I think, on this side of the Atlantic) that the three were passing on technology on another thread. Its been totally discredited in court by one of the world’s leading forensics experts, Dr. Keith Borer.

    Borer ‘examined all the materials in relation to the forensic tests carried out by the US Embassy Official and stated in court that there is no forensic evidence against the three men.

    He also gave evidence stating that from what was presented to the court there has been no change in FARC technology and that FARC and IRA technology are very different. This shows that there is no evidence that these three men were training the FARC.’

    Jacko and Keith are making it up as they go along, I would suggest. Or they have accepted uncritically the propaganda emanating from bitter-end unionism and their allies on the far right in the US and Colombia.

    I’m not convinced, as George suggests, that the US knew about this, but it is a possibility. From the beginning, I considered the case a bargaining chip to be used to bring the provos to heel around the Agreement. You’ll remember that the timing of the original arrest coincided with another ‘crisis’ in the Assembly, and its effect was to take the heat off of Trimble for his wrecking operation, as did the Stormont raids. And of course it was the US which oversaw the crackdown, carried out the initial (botched) forensics, and then later claimed falsely to have satellite photos that thery would produce in court (never did). I could well see them usign this to strongarm a deal over the past month. But we will have to wait and see.

    Fair play to Mick for seeing this ongoing (hopefully now ended) injustice for what it is. Anyone with a shred of a sense of justice would celebrate their making it home safely.

  • katie

    Its been totally discredited in court by one of the world’s leading forensics experts, Dr. Keith Borer.

    That would be in the “kangaroo court”?

    Borer ‘examined all the materials in relation to the forensic tests carried out by the US Embassy Official and stated in court that there is no forensic evidence against the three men.

    Expert witnesses give an opinion. In Borer’s opinion there is no forensic evidence. Even taking an expert opinion as correct in sating there is no forensic evidence against a defendant/defendants does not mean they are innocent since there may of course be damning evidence of a non-forensic nature. The absense of forensic evidence does not mean innocence.

    He also gave evidence stating that from what was presented to the court there has been no change in FARC technology and that FARC and IRA technology are very different. This shows that there is no evidence that these three men were training the FARC.

    It does not mean anything of the kind. This is like saying oranges are fruit, apples are fruit, therefore apples are oranges and is flawed logic.

    it was the US which oversaw the crackdown, carried out the initial (botched) forensics

    These would be the forensics that ‘proves’ their non-involvement?

  • spartacus

    Katie:

    I know its difficult, but try to focus for just a minute.

    The initial forensics, which ostensibly established that there were traces of explosives etc on one of the three were carried out by US Embassy officals, who had apparently provided the intelligence that the three were leaving the country. They were ‘botched’ in part because they were carried out in a military barracks, with lots of the stuff lying about anyway.

    This hole in the prosecution’s case was _in addition to_ the forensic tests carried out by Borer on FARC armaments etc., from which he concluded that there had been no significant changes in FARC technology, and that there was no evidence of a transfer of technology between these three and FARC. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? Given the fact that the assertion has been made repeatedly in public by prominent unionists, one would think there is ample evidence to back it up. Can you produce it for us here?

    We know also that Judge Acosta was of the opinion that at least two of the prosecution witnesses in the first trial were guilty of perjury, and we know also that at least one of these was being held in military detention at the behest of Colombian intelligence throughout the trial.

    We know that the video evidence that the US claimed to have proving that these men were training FARC has never materialized. We know that the three did produce a range of video evidence in court sustaining their assertions that they were not in Colombia on the dates that they were alleged to have been involved in this training.

    But perhaps you know more. Enlighten us then. Otherwise all signs point in the direction of a stitch-up, and in that case its great news that they’ve made it home.

  • realist

    The ROI government will be embarassed but there is no way they will return the “Colombia three”. The arguments about their trial are pedantic and hypocritical. Every Shinner I’ve spoken to accepts that the men were there to sell bomb technology and train in its use and all were amazed at the first trial verdict, but that will never be acknowledged in public. Equally, even the most fervant anti-Shinner can see that there was something rotten about the way that trial verdict was overturned. Can we all just acknowledge the truth, they did it, they had a fair trial and got off with it and, even a guilty men should be allowed to walk. Life’s unfair but there it is.

  • Jacko

    “kangaroo court” as in – distinct from the type of courts that Freddie Scap presided over, presumably.
    Or the ones that convicted and passed sentence on the likes of Jean McConville?
    As so often illustrated on these threads, the provos and their camp followers really have no sense of irony.
    Rabbiting on about human rights and justice, indeed. It’s like a Free P having the neck to lecture us on the virtues of religious tolerance.

  • Liam

    distinct from the type of courts that Freddie Scap presided over, presumably.

    Jacko, you need to admit the truth to yourself – you know nothing about ‘Freddie Scap’ – nothing at all. And even if you did, (but you don’t) then what the fcuk, would that have to do with anything?

    You also need to admit that you have absolutely no interest in these three Irish men receiving justice. In fact, the truth is that you would prefer them to be victims of a miscarriage of justice. Simply because they are Republicans.

    You’re really quite sad you know.

  • Lorre

    Interpol, US tell Dublin to arrest 3
    Enda Leahy, Stephen O’Brien and Liam Clarke

    IRISH authorities came under intense pressure this weekend to track down and arrest the Colombia Three.

    The American government issued a statement saying it expected the government to pursue the matter, while a spokesperson for Interpol said gardai were obliged to honour an international warrant for the men’s arrest.

    Bertie Ahern interrupted his summer holiday in Co Kerry to address growing international concern about the men’s re-emergence in Ireland last week. The three have been on the run since they were convicted of training terrorists in Colombia in June 2004.

    Full article
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2091-1724552,00.html

  • Jimmy Sands

    I accept that press reports suggested that the evidence of the discrete offences was problematic. On the other hand I’ve not seen it seriously suggested that they were doing anything other than assisting in a terrorist campaign resulting in the deaths of innocent men women and children. In the circumstances their portrayal as victims fails to convince. There is also the irony that it is those who like to consider themselves anti-imperialist who believe that westerners should have the right to opt out of the judicial system of a sovereign country if the result is not to their liking.

    As to the US intervention, to put in terms they may understand, an international arrest warrant and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee. No treaty, no extradtion. On reflection however, I’m puzzled by the general acceptance by the press that no treaty exists. The UK-Colombia treaty from my brief research dates back to 1889. Has Ireland repudiated it?

  • Alan

    Focusing on the court process is just another strategy, just another evasion. It is time that the Republican movement moved to shake itself out of the mindset that believes that any action no matter how iniquitous can be justified if a volunteer requires it.

    I simply don’t know what went on in the courts in Colombia. I know it’s not the kind of place I or any reasonable person would want to be, and even less so if it were a rebel controlled area in Colombia.

    I simply don’t believe that the three men were there for anything but nefarious reasons. No reasonable person would ever agree to travel on a fake passport, and two of them seem to have experience that would be invaluable to FARC.

    That, of course, is traveling beyond the line laid by the courts for evidence. Despite that, my mind will not be changed, because the strategy used by the RM over this issue is just another evasion. It is another staged riot to cover a tactical retreat.

    One problem with such a strategy is that it depends upon evasion and the understanding by those complicit in promotinging the evasion that evasion is an appropriate response. Where do they get such an understanding? Obviously from a trusted leadership. Which is not a problem when you can be sure that the leadership are free to make rational choices about strategy on Colombia.

    I wonder what benefit there was to the RM for the three to be sent to Colombia (yes, to be sent to Colombia). Precisely how might their involvement in extending the ability of that organisation to kill innocent people assist the RM? The problem for those who did send them is that by doing so they were shackling themselves to decisions made not for the benefit of the RM, but for the benefit of the three men should they be caught. The future strategy of a movement was hanging on three dodgy passports and the ineptitude of a police state; now is that the way to run a hot-dog stand?

    It is time for the RM to consider how to move on, how to shift from clannish self protection and self deception to take responsibility for all of its actions.

  • Visioneer

    “As usual Mickhall provides an excellant analysis.

    The Irish Supreme Court will not allow the governemnt to send the three men back to columbia.

    That is a certainty

    Posted by: Chris Gaskin at August 6, 2005 03:02 PM”

    And what you planned all along Chris.

    Particularly after the IRA/SF hollow statement.

  • Alana

    Gerry
    Adams’s
    juxtaposition of the Colombia
    Three
    and the IRA’s statement makes the building of confidence
    more difficult. Since that was a predictable consequence of their return, the
    only plausible conclusion is that Adams cares nothing about forging trust, cares
    nothing for the Good Friday agreement and cares nothing about the wishes of the
    vast majority of the people in both states.

    Selfish,
    arrogant, manipulative and disingenuous, he needs to be checked.

    If Ahern does not accept the challenge, then Adams is free to propagate his
    poison, and we all suffer from the perception that grubby deals are being struck
    with men who abuse whatever is put their way. This week the Colombia Three walk
    our streets. Next week, the murderers of Jerry McCabe?

  • George

    Keithm,
    “No, the issue is that justice should prevail, and the guilty should be punished.”

    You have a very scary view on what justice means. You can only have justice if there is a fair trial. If they can’t have a fair trial, then you can’t have justice. They can only be pronounced guilty and punished if they have a fair trial.

    “It’s not about my (any anyone else’s) opinion of the Colombian judicial system, it’s about whether this country should be seen as a safe haven for terrorists.”

    Here you go again, putting the cart before the horse. They are only terrorists if they have received a fair trial and have been proven guilty of terrorism.

    Innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.

    I am glad you agree it is for the Irish courts to decide whether it is legally acceptable to send these men back.

    As I said, I am not a lawyer but I would assume no extradition treaty makes it difficult as does the lack of transparency in how justice is administered.

    If the Irish legal system decides they had a fair trial they go back but it it rules that it wasn’t a competent court then they stay.

    This doesn’t make Ireland a haven for terrorists, this makes the Irish judiciary independent of political pressure, which is what is should be.

    Law is not just about punishing the guilty, you must understand that. Ever heard of the Blackstone (English lawyer) ratio?

    “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

  • crat

    Alana,

    The usual form on this website is to give a link or credit when posting another’s writing.

    It prevents ‘you’ being accused of plagarism.

  • Levitas

    Jacko…are you losing the plot..I did not “blame” the americans, in this case, by facilitating the 3’s return I think they did well. It also might give folks like yourself to consider, that despite smokescreens of apparent indignation, the US wants the process in NI finalised…which will mean that some of the morebone headed loyalists may have to start thinking creatively also-thats real-politik in a world with just one super-power lads!

  • Keith M

    George “They can only be pronounced guilty and punished if they have a fair trial.” In that case would you support a re-trial in Ireland or in an international court convened in the same manner as those that tried the Lockerbie bombers?

    I believe these men to be guilty, based on everything I’ve read. Thankfully no one here or elsewhere (even the most sycophantic Provo fellow-travellers) believes hem to be innocent. Justice demands that the guilty should pay for their crimes.

    “Innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.” This is a peculularly Anglo-saxon concept for a Irish nationalist and does not apply under Napoleonic code.

  • Liam

    KeithM
    “I believe these men to be guilty, based on everything I’ve read.”

    Well you’ve obviously not read the reports of the independent international observers at the mens trial then. Have you!!

    “Thankfully no one here or elsewhere (even the most sycophantic Provo fellow-travellers) believes them to be innocent.”

    Wrong!! In fact not only are they innocent but their trial proved that!!

    Justice demands that the guilty should pay for their crimes.

    Come on, admit it. You’ve no thought at all for ‘Justice’ in this case. You just want to see three republicans suffer. You’re sadder than sad!

  • George

    Keithm,

    “In that case would you support a re-trial in Ireland or in an international court convened in the same manner as those that tried the Lockerbie bombers?”

    If the Colombians are willing, we don’t have to pay for it and it doesn’t contravene Irish law, sure, why not?

    “I believe these men to be guilty, based on everything I’ve read.” Irrelevant, unless you believe in vigilante justice.

    “Thankfully no one here or elsewhere (even the most sycophantic Provo fellow-travellers) believes hem to be innocent.”

    Irrelevant when it comes to justice, unless you believe in vigilante justice.

    “Justice demands that the guilty should pay for their crimes.”

    This is where I have to repeat myself: your understanding of “justice” is extremely scary.

    What you describe as justice is in reality closer to vigilantism (punishment beatings etc.), which is taking of the law into one’s own hands to administer “justice”.

    Justice doesn’t “demand” anything, justice is the administration of law in an free and impartial way. You seem incapable of understanding this very basic concept.

    “Innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.” This is a peculularly Anglo-saxon concept for a Irish nationalist and does not apply under Napoleonic code.

    As there is no extradition treaty, a case will be heard by the Irish common law legal system or are you advocating Ireland take up a Napoleonic code and make it retrospective?

    Which brings me back to your understanding of the concept of justice and law in general….

  • George

    Also Keithm,

    “Innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.” This is a peculularly Anglo-saxon concept for a Irish nationalist and does not apply under Napoleonic code”

    Firstly, I am an Irish citizen not an “Irish nationalist”, whatever you mean by that.

    Innocent until proven guilty is not an Anglo-Saxon code.

    The French criminal code states that a person is presumed to be innocent until guilt has been established. So the country Napoleon ruled doesn’t even have a Napoleonic code?

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

    Throw in the European Convention on Human rights too. Are they all Anglo-Saxon?

  • aquifer

    Unless the Irish government have decided that FARC adheres more firmly to human rights and democratic values than the Columbian nation state, which should therefore be quickly subverted and supplanted by force of arms, they must extradite the three.

    If nation states are not allowed control of the territories within their border and the justice administered there, the system of international law which underpins stability is subverted, and terrorist conspiracies everywhere are given carte blanche to co-operate across borders.

    In a world where arms are cheap, and where coercion can give access to huge cash flows from drugs, oil, and general trade, this awards the intiative to those who respect laws least. This is problematic for their host populations, whose human rights, including the right to life, are routinely abused by terrorists.

    When rights are abused by states there is usually some recourse to law, or at least some prospect of pressure being applied by the media, or by other governments or NGO’s, without the prospect of being immediately shot to death.

  • euinni

    And Jim Allister takes on the EU to pressurise Dublin.

  • Charles

    The Irish government is hugely embarrassed by this and is most definitely in a no-win situation. It cannot ignore the men’s presence without (justified) howls from Britain, from unionists and from that part of the southern population that would prefer, on balance, the rule of law over anarchy. It cannot return the men to Colombia without huge (justified) protests not only from their supporters but from human rights groups that would not normally be on the same platform as IRA volunteers or fellow-travellers.

    What most strikes me here is the enormous arrogance of the RM in orchestrating this matter. They have decided to embarrass a partner in moves towards ‘normalisation’ and assume it will have no consequences. And they have decided to rub unionist noses in it. They are showing nothing but open contempt for what anybody else might think, and that does not bode well for compromise. From a purely tactical point of view, they didn’t have to break the news at this time. So why did they?

  • George

    “they must extradite the three.”

    Extradition is a legal decision, not a political one Aquifer and can only happen within a legal framework – treaty etc.

    Otherwise, you lose an essential component of a free society, an independent judiciary.

    If there is no legal basis for an extradition, it can’t happen. We are just going to have to wait on the legal decision.

    The United States, Interpol etc. are all aware of what can and cannot be done in a free and democratic society.

    They haven’t called for their extradition, they have called for their arrest.

    Why arrest? So that the legal process can take its course.

    Why not extradition? Because it would subvert the legal process.

    Calls by Allister et al for the EU and others to “pressurise” the Irish legal system is quite sad really but maybe the idea of an independent judiciary is foreign to him.

    Equally sad if not sadder are calls for the Irish government to circumvent the country’s justice system and extradite them without due process.

  • JD

    “From a purely tactical point of view, they didn’t have to break the news at this time. So why did they?”

    Lest we forget, there are families involved here, in particular Martin McCauley who has young children. These men have been away from their families for four years on trumped up charges. Can you suggest a better time? As it is obvious, that for some, there would have been no good time to have these men return home.

  • Dessertspoon

    Why do we do this to ourselves? Why whenever we look like moving one obstacle and clearing the path do we immediately drag another one across? Perhaps it’s time to realise that no-one outside of the Island of Ireland gives a toss, they just want us to sort this out and get on with our lives. They have more important things to deal with. All of the self righteous bleating about human rights and fair trials is all bollocks and you all know it. No-one directly involved with the “war” can ever take the high ground as far as fairness, or human rights are concerned although many try.

    Why travel on a false passport to a country like Colombia? Not exactly a top 5 holiday location is it? To come back to Ireland and parade on TV not a smart move. I would suggest everyone calms down and ratchets back the anger and vitriol on both sides. Colombians have many ways of dealing with these situations all of which leave human rights and fairness very much out. Leave it to the Colombians. Oh and lads best not to be on TV too much and keep hiding.

  • Charles

    JD, the fact is that they were already home and not being sought. They then sought out Charlie Bird to announce their return on national news. They thrust the issue into prominence. I’m concerned at the RMs willingness to cause unnecessary hurt and anger in the unionist community for the sake of a photo-op. The digit is certainly raised to unionists, the Irish Governement and the electorate generally, north and south. And that’s purely on a tactical level, without even considering the moral and legal complications. Asinine, unhelpful, arrogant and insensitive.

  • JD

    I am not completely sure why RM chose this moment, however the current movement in the peace process must be a factor. In addition internal politics within the RM may also be a factor, last weeks statement from the IRA is a huge move for republicans and this may have ocurred for reasons of morale.

    This may also play into the power politics occuring at Leinster House. Fianna Fail have recently briefing against Micheal McDowell asserting their prominance over northern policy. This could be an ideal opportunity to put McDowell back in his box, once he returns from holidaying in Austrailia. I hope everything is alright with McDowells passport.

  • antonio

    A message to Henry Hyde.
    We will send our citizens to Columbia when you extradite yours to North Korea.
    Now keep your nose out of internal affairs.

  • martin

    The whole idea of FARC needing provo mortar expertise is quite hillarious–the PIRA’s mortar attacks were almost always complete flops with the one notable exception of Newry in 1985–.

    during the troubles most mortar attacks either failed to explode,shot over ,fell short or exploded during transportation. I cant remember the exact figures but i think out of about 700 attacks with mortars only about 5 even reached their target—Newry was a fluke and even there 2 of the shots fired missed the target .

    FARC needed PIRA expertise in mortars=get away out of it.

  • Brendan

    “”Innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.” This is a peculularly Anglo-saxon concept for a Irish nationalist and does not apply under Napoleonic code.”

    Thought the Anglo-Saxon concept was more along the lines of ‘Innocent until proven Irish.’

  • Yoda

    Most of the anti-C3 comments here involve classic “kettle logic”: mutually contradictory claims in the service of one desire. Breath-taking hypocrisy in the desire to see the exercise of state power at any cost.

    How many times have we seen people call for a lack of due process when those accused are believed to have broken the law? It boils down to a belief of being above the law: “the law may be broken when I think it should, and stuff the fall-out.”

    Not much difference between what you call for and what you decry, is there?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “I am not completely sure why RM chose this moment”

    The same reason a rapist calls his victim’s mother to boast,.

    Because they could.

  • pacart

    what if the appeal was held here in ROI, in open court? They are accused of a very serious crime. If they are guilty then their actions could cause the death of very many innocent Columbian citizens. They can’t just walk away, let’s hear all the evidence and let them take their chances. They can serve their time here if guilty. There is no point arguing the case on this site, both sides will be totally selective and, as usual, the shinners are better briefed and singing off the same hymn sheet.

  • jocky

    The thing is, would they get a fair trial in Ireland given the massive publciity surrounding the case?

    Maybe an locerkbie style trial would the an acceptable solution to all parties?

  • George

    I suppose General Pinochet could have been put on trial in the UK rather than extraditing him back to Chile on foot of the outstanding international warrant in his name.

    Oh wait, he was arrested but after a 16-month legal battle not extradited.

    My hunch on this is that the Colombia 3 will be arrested by Gardai, a legal battle will ensue, but, just as Pinochet’s lawyers knew British law wouldn’t/couldn’t extradite him, their lawyers know, the Irish law won’t/can’t extradite them.

  • pacart

    If they are innocent as they claim perhaps the three will offer their trial to be heard under Irish juristiction – not!

  • pacart

    If they are innocent as they claim perhaps the three will offer their trial to be heard under Irish juristiction in open court, sorting the thing out once and for all and without embarrassing the whole country – just kidding.