Zero tolerance towards victims

The Victims Commissioner has been on record as stating that she does not believe that terrorists are victims. Miss Fitz on Sunday described this as narrow.

Alban Maginness has called for zero tolerance towards Loyalist paramilitaries. I found this odd as according to this SDLP policy document all Paramilitaries are doing by engaging in murder and criminality is making victims of themselves, and according to this policy,

The needs of all victims – of paramilitary organizations and the state – must be respected equally.

Lock up the victims I say.

  • Rory

    Since many of the the major contributors to the strife, to whom most blame attributes – Churchill, Lloyd George, Carson, Brooke, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Rees, Whitelaw are now beyond the call of human accountability and Thatcher and Paisley are unlikely to account for their actions before any tribunal, this side of the grave at least, perhaps in order to attempt reconciliation, we ought consider all who were scarred either as activist or innocent as victim of these manipulators of human misery.

  • bertie

    Some of these “victims” should be locked up (and not released).

    If the SDLP mean that innocent victims, including members of our security forces, and innocent victims of state forces and there are some, then I don’t have a problem with there stand. Members of IRA/UVF etc injured in the persuit of their criminal endeavours should not be respected at all never mind on a par with the innocent.

  • Occasional Commentator

    “Members of IRA/UVF etc injured in the persuit of their criminal endeavours should not be respected.”

    So you’re happy that the honorable members of the IRA/UVF, as opposed to the selfish criminals, should be respected alongside the more honorable members of the British Army?

  • Eddie Espie

    Evidently, the victim issue is more complex that the one shoe size fits all mentality. The close association with guilt and blame has clouded the issue to such an extent by both combatants and non combatants that the very definition of the word, (Victim) is lost in interpretation. On 24th October 1997 the Victims Commission announced by the late Mo Mowlam, headed by Kenneth Bloomfield, to look at ways of recognising the pain and suffering of victims of violence related to ’The Troubles’ in the last 30 years. He was unable to give a clear unequivocal description of whom and what victims are. Not only was the 1997 Victims Commissioner unable or unwilling to give an explicit description but no-one in the last 9 years has been tasked with the explanation. Each of our political parties interprets different issues in different ways perceiving electoral supremacy or advancing their political goals at the next election so asking them for their explanation is understating the obvious.

  • Ex UUP

    terrorists are terrorists, not victims

  • Rapunsel

    The terms victim and perprerator are not mutually exclusive. There are many individuals in this society who participated in violent acts who were injured in the pursuit of that act but also many who were victims of violent acts in other circumstances. Whilst I believe that individuals and organisations ( including the state and it’s various armed forces) need to both own up for actions for which they were responsible and be held to account surely the idea of a hierarchy of victims is unworkable. When we begin using the terms innocent victims what do we actually mean by that term? Does it get us anywhere in addressing the needs of many differnt people. Those that identify innocent victims– what are they suggesting happens to the non innocent victims?

  • Miss Fitz

    To be absolutely correct, I said that a Victims Commissioner who only regarded one side of the conflict as victims would make this ‘narrowly defined’.

    To date, we do not have an adequately acceptable definition of ‘victim’ among either the government or victim agencies.

    When I first started working with victim groups several years ago, I naievely said that we are all vicitms within this society, and that we have suffered collectively.

    There was uproar.

    I havent really moderated my views, and I think that the best way forward is by ventilating in a responsible way,the views of all people who feel that they are victims.

    Neither side may like or feel comfortable with the other as victim, but each side perceives the other in a very different way. That is the ultimate hiatus in our society, and the one that the most work and effort needs to expended upon to heal and bridge.

    I feel strongly that a Victims Commissioner must openly and honestly accept that this has been a complex and multi faceted conflict, and that there are victims beyond those which her background and eprsonal history can identify with.

    The definition of VC must be broad and inclusive, and the ultimate goal is to allow healing not only within the community, but across those divided communities

  • bertie

    Those that identify innocent victms like I do suggest that for many of them oart of what adds to the harm that has been done to them is the suggestion that their innocence does not matter and that they are in the same bracket as those who inflicted that initial harm on them.

    Mizzfitz what do mean when you talk about “both sides”? If you mean Orange v Green (and apologies if I am insulting you as I would consider it an insult but many people seem to use the term in this way) then I feel bound to point out that many innocent victims are just as replused by their colour’s terroists affecting to don the mantle of “victim” and instead identify totally with all innocent victims.

  • Rapunsel


    You need to give us a definition of an innocent victim? I am not with Miss Fitz in respect of the view that we are all victims and that we have collectively suffered. My aim in wanting a definition is not intending to dispute that the people you are referring to are victims. But if there are innocent victims then there are also victims that are not innocent. Generally when ever I have probed this issue with people

    1. There are no innocent victims of state violence

    2. Members of paramilitary organisations and their families that have been injured or killed by other armed groups are not considered victims

    In extremis we had the situation last year in respect of the Love Ulster campaign and the Shankill Mirror special edition which promulgated a view that there were no innocent catholic victims of the conflict!

  • bertie

    Victims who are not innocent are those who have been involved in the criminal activity that creates victims.

    Re your categories
    1) There are at least in theory. I just don’t know details.

    2) the members are not innocent victims. The families are not made not innocent by virtue of being related but would be in relation to any material support if they gave any.

    I have noit seen the special addition but the fact that the LU campaign focused on victims of republican violence doeas not promulgate a view that there are no innocent Roman Catholic victims.

  • Reader

    Rapunsel: innocent victims
    I’m not hostile to the notion of some sort of recognition of non-innocent victims alongside innocent victims – after all, most of us don’t support the death penalty, or collective punishment, or cruel and unusual punishment. And of course it doesn’t help that cveryone has to face their own tribal and pro/anti state biases too. Fundamentally, a victim is someone who suffered from the actions of others – It’s a pity that the term victim is emotionally loaded – is that the real obstacle?
    That you found people who adopted position (1) in your post, I thought was depressing. As for (2), I’m shocked that families of paramilitaries are somehow excluded by some people. But paramilitaries on active service, or rioters while rioting, are not in the same category as other victims.

  • bertie

    One of the difficulties of families of terorists is that for the bereaved past of the need/salve is having sufficient respect for their loss and it is very hard to repect the loss that the families of terrorists have experienced without in some way showing repsct for the trrorist, which would be a fross lack of respect to their (and I would say ALL) innocent victims.

  • Reader

    bertie: t is very hard to repect the loss that the families of terrorists have experienced without in some way showing repsct for the trrorist
    I disagree. I can sympathise with some mother grieving her IRA son. I can’t read her mind, but from my POV she has lost her son to republican ideology, and she is a victim. I suppose the distinction is a bit easier if he blew himself up without blowing up someone else as well…

  • bertie


    I don’t mean as individuals I mean as part of a drive to respond to victims needs.

    RE the mother of an IRA terrorist. If the mother is an IRA supporter, I pity her most for her attitude.

    If she is not then I pity her more in some ways than a mother of an innocent victim. However that is my response as an individual. The ststems and response mechanisms to dear with her needs are a more difficult area.