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.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty