HET to pull in ex servicemen…

There was some scepticism about the forward efficiency of the Historic Enquiries Team set up by Hugh Orde to tackle unsolved murders from the Troubles (some 3000 cases in all). Although Gerry Kelly, speaking at West Belfast Talks Back, suggested that some families may wish to push their case as far as they could with the process in order to take it further, his party could not express much hope in it efficicacy. Just the same, it looks like they are going to pull in a fair amount of ex soldiers. Though, as Nuala O’Loan pointed out on the same night, the untility of witnesses thirty years after the fact may be extremely limited. She also mentioned that key evidence may simply not have been gathered, or destroyed when specific RUC Stations were blown up.

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  • na

    Why are the HET ‘trusted’ to investigate deaths caused by the British Army but barred from investigating any death caused by the RUC/PSNI prior to 1998?

    The conflict of interests would seem to extend to both areas.

  • Rory

    My first reaction to Nuala O’Loan’s assessment would be to ask how many RUC stations were in fact blown up? How many were destroyed and abandoned and more importantly how many claimed to have lost all of their records (or was it just selective records?) at the time these attacks occurred.

    It seems that Sinn Fein now more reconciled to the idea that we must just draw a line under the past and move on. Prosecutions aftera 30year lapse are much too fraught with uncertainty to sustain but we don]t really need mealy mouthed excuses for missing records, that adds insult.

  • But what she didn’t point out Mick, and what wasn’t asked of Gerry nor David Ervine, was whether the two boyos would be telling their colleagues and former comrades to participate fully in the enquiry.

    Given that on the night the question about the HET was asked by the brother of a UVF murder victim, I thought the fact that both Gerry and David were allowed to wring their hands was pretty nauseating.

  • It seems that Sinn Fein now more reconciled to the idea that we must just draw a line under the past and move on

    I agree. This would let them and those they have supported off the hook regarding the treasonous wrongs they have committed. Sinn Fein only really won’t to draw a line in the sand when the spotlight is on them. It is a different matter altogether when past wrong-doings by the RUC / British Army are under the spotlight. Hypocrisy and double standards yet again from Sinn Fein.

    There is a fear that anyone involved with the Historic Enquiries Team will be working to their own agenda. If the investigations are in deed going to be successful in bringing closure for the families of the 3,268 killed, there has to be full, open and public support from everyone. Given that Whitehall top brass is concerned at a decision to investigate past military action is to be investigated and that retired servicemen could face questioning about incidents in the distant past, I am not sure how successful the HET can be. It is ironic that both terrorist groups AND the British Army / RUC are united in their reticence?