OTR legislation will violate Human Rights

British and Irish Human Rights watch has issued a report on the proposed legislation suggesting that it will violate the human rights of victims to find out precisely what happened to their loved ones:

“While in some cases it will be possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime was not motivated by terrorism, once a criminal claims to have been a member of a proscribed organisation and, for example, to have killed someone because she or he feared that the fact of his or her membership of the organisation would be exposed, it will be virtually impossible to disprove such assertions.

“Sir Hugh Orde, chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, has recently established a Historic Enquiries Team to re-examine every conflict-related unsolved murder prior to April 10 1998.

“It will examine over 3,000 deaths and will cost £24.2m (€40m) over six years. On our reading of the Bill, every single person charged by the Historic Enquiries Team will never serve a day in jail.

“What concerns British Irish Rights Watch most is that agents of the state who colluded with terrorists will not be held to account because they will be able to claim that any crimes they committed were carried out in the efforts to combat terrorism.”

It appears to row in behind some of the criticisms made of the legislation by the SDLP.

  • Whatabout

    The last sentence in the article really needs challenged for hypocrisy.

  • The government and SF/IRA against the world. I wonder which will win?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I wonder too. What the Government has succeeded in doing is creating a rather odd coalition of parties across the political spectrum (and across the Irish Sea, crucially) against its proposals for OTRs.

    SF is the only party in Northern Ireland happy with the Government’s proposals, and the main opposition parties in the Commons and Lords are also opposed.

    Blair can kick this around for up to a year, before he forces legislation through. But that is a very long time in politics, and he finds himself in a weakened position right now over the Terror Act.

    Like Major, he might find those unionist MP votes handy in a crisis some day.

  • JD

    “SF is the only party in Northern Ireland happy with the Government’s proposals”

    Not so, SF argued that this anomale needed to be resolved however they did not feel that legislation was needed to resolve it, the Irish Government did feel the need to bring through new legislation. The British insisted on legislation, then they cutely extended it to cover themselves so that their dirty war in Ireland could remain under wraps.