THE Secretary of State has finally succeeded in uniting the police and Sinn Fein on a single issue – opposition to his amnesty for members of the security forces suspected of terrorist acts or co-operation with loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles. Gerry Adams believes those police and soldiers guilty of state killings or collusion… must be held to account, while the Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland opposes “equivalence” between “terrorist suspects who have fled justice” and “serving/former police officers, or members of Her Majesty’s armed forces”. Adams, of course, doesn’t think that IRA members on the run from justice should face justice for their past actions – just police, soldiers and loyalists. Anyone but republicans, obviously, who cannot commit crimes, but can’t expect justice from an unfair State even if they somehow get accused of one…
Yet by asking for others to be held to a higher standard of justice than IRA members, is Adams not contributing to the ‘hierarchy of victims’ he is supposedly opposed to? The outcome of different legal approaches towards the perpetrators of violence will result in different outcomes for Troubles victims. SF wants to see the State held publicly accountable, but no justice for victims of IRA violence, thanks very much.
SF’s opposition to an amnesty for the security forces appears as self-serving as the Government that proposed it. Ironically, it could be that the PSNI and Chief Superintendent Stephen Grange’s report will achieve more justice for the victims of illegal State violence than the Government or even Sinn Fein – which has been undoubtedly aware of the Government’s ‘amnesty-for-all’ proposals for years.
Adams recently said: “The scheme that we negotiated was published by the two governments at Weston Park in 2003 and related only to OTRs. It did not include members of British state forces.”
But it certainly didn’t exclude them, which means a usually very ‘savvy’ Sinn Fein is either lying or incompetent.
The police superintendents’ report is due to be published today – it will be interesting to see how, or even if, Sinn Fein reacts.