Following on from the PIRA statement, quickly released in reponse to the Police Ombudsmans report on Jean McConville, as well as the subsequent analysis by Mick here on Slugger and elsewhere, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams held a press briefing today where he announced that there had been meetings over the past 10 months between PIRA members and the forensic expert appointed by the British government to investigate potential sites where the missing bodies of those adbucted and murdered by PIRA may be located. According to the BBC report, Gerry Adams described some of those involved in the meetings as “primary sources” – ie “people who were there when the killings took place – either transporting those who were killed, or in fact killed those who were killed or buried those who were killed.” Update Tommie Gorman’s RTÉ report[RealPlayer video] More see belowThe BBC report notes that:
The way the IRA dealt with the bodies of those they abducted and murdered was “a human rights violation”, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said.
Although, it’s also worth noting that there is no indication that he accepts that the abductions and murders themselves were also human rights violations.. and the BBC report also notes that Gerry Adams “would not be drawn on the issue of Jean McConville”.
Important to remember at this point the legacy of Mo Mowlam’s years as Secreatry of State, although it’s impossible to tell how much of a hand she personally had in the legislation. As reported by RTÉ in April 1999:
The IRA has indicated that they know the location of the graves of seven people killed by the organisation. The joint independent commission will facilitate the location of the victims’ remains. There will be immunity from prosecution in respect of any evidence gathered in the operation.[added emphasis]
That immunity from prosecution, in particular in relation to the use in court of any forensics, is more than likely still part of any potential operation.
Clarification on what Gerry Adams sees as the “human rights violation”:
“It is a human rights violation that they didn’t have their remains to be buried,” he said, also making reference to “the whole other issue of the 3,000 people who were killed in the course of the conflict”.[added emphasis]
And his refusal to answer Gerry Moriarty’s questions on Jean McConville:
He was further asked by The Irish Times was he not avoiding what many believed was a key question: was the IRA justified in killing Jean McConville? Mr Adams replied: “I am not going to answer the question. I don’t trust the way you would carry such an interview.”