“to own up to their crimes in return for an amnesty..”

The actual report from the Eames/Bradley-chaired consultative group won’t be published until this summer, if it’s on time, but ahead of tonight’s public meeting it looks like the same anonymous sources close to that group have briefed the BBC’s Mark Devenport, UTV’s Ken Reid and the Press Association’s Dan McGinn on what they’ve been considering and the feedback so far. Whether it’s just to generate more publicity, to worry interested parties, or to prepare the public for those recommendations, isn’t entirely clear. The PA report probably has the most comprehensive detail

It is considering making the PSNI Historic Enquiries Team, which re-examines all deaths in the Troubles between 1968 and 1998, independent and widening its remit to cover the Republic. The team operates under the PSNI and only in the North.

It has apparently uncovered new claims of collusion between paramilitaries and security forces during the course of its work.

The group is also considering encouraging killers to own up to their crimes in return for an amnesty as part of a truth recovery process.

As previously suggested for those on the run.. Adds Some more from those sources here.And also from the PA report

According to sources other options open for discussion include drafting a covenant that people could sign committing them to non-violent means and creating an audio/visual database of testimonies given in the truth recovery exercise.

It is understood the consultative body has not found much support for a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, however,

Sources said feedback so far indicated that many victims were also tired of public inquiries and tribunals into a number of controversial killings.

Although, the South African model, as far as I can recall, was based on an amnesty in return for testimony.. with the additional point that those who refused to testify were open to prosecution..

And perhaps they should also consider that the lack of enthusiasm for public inquiries and tribunals could be connected to the inability of those inquiries and tribunals to deliver what interested parties set out to achieve.

It’s as good a time as any to re-post this paragraph from an earlier post.. with the emphasis on the “serious collective attempt” as opposed to a private “thorough investigation”..

Because conflict has been underpinned by selective remembering in which grief becomes grievance, it is foolish to believe that if we ignore the recent past it will go away. In the Irish experience, both nationalists and unionists have been all too adept at constructing versions of the past in which they feature only as victims, never as victimisers. There is every reason to believe that, without a serious collective attempt to deal with the legacy of the Troubles, it too will be assimilated into competing tribal myths.

Some people would prefer that we forgot completely about the entire 20th Century..

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  • disbielf

    As I watch the evens of the Amnesty unfold infront of me, I feel again shafted by the British Government, they bent over backwards for paramilitary organisations over the early release of prisioners and they are doing the same again. Amnesty!!! really what about the victims and their families. Vicitms have been denied all their basic human rights (the right to life) and again they are being denied their rights “the right to justice”. A lot of vicitims families only have justice left, their lives ended the day they lost their loved one. Amnesty seams to be about the perpatrators being able to draw a line in the sand and move on with their lives, being fully involved in society without the label of paramilitary. What about the vicitims who lost their lives, WHAT? because they cant speak they no longer count. This amnesty would be rolled out as a blanket to all those involved in terrorist organisations, but what about the people they murdered for no particular reason. Maybe because they spoke to thier wife, wouldnt sleep with them or just because they could. What about them??? The people that murdered those people were just evil, pathological killers, anywhere else they would be regarded as serial murders and in parts of the world would have to face capital punishment. But in Northern Ireland they are given a pat on the back, an education, only serve short sentences and this lastest blow amnesty. Will they now sensationalise the murder of people’s loved ones and write books about their cause, their war.

    All this Amnesty will do is divide Northern Ireland even further. I know myself if my rights keep being denied I’ll leave, go somewhere were my rights are upheld, for at least if I were to loose another member of my family I could have a proper police service and if someone admits it, they will feel the full weight of the law rather than a pat on the back and a hand shake and told it doesnt matter any more because it matters to us ‘the vicitms’ the people left to pick up the pieces and who felt the full brunt of the terrorist campaign on Northern Ireland.

  • The Dubliner

    “Amnesty seams to be about the perpatrators being able to draw a line in the sand and move on with their lives…”

    Nail on the head, alas. The families need to organise and get public opinion on their side because your silence only makes the process of shafting you easier for the State.

  • Twinbrook

    Are some victims more deserving? Some would like to portray this conflict as a sectarian war and imply that the IRA killed everyone!!!!

    What about the families of British Government collusion with loyalists are they not entitled to justice?

    All sides in this conflict have suffered and there isn`t a hierarchy of grief and suffering. Both communities have suffered and sad as it may sound, some families may never get closure from either the British government or from Loyalist or Republicans..

  • McGrath

    Calling this a war will benefit the British Government/RUC more than NI’s Republicans and Loyalists. The behaviour of the the government while the Troubles are termed criminal activity, leaves the Government themselves open to criminal scrutiny. However, when it is termed a war, those government crimes become another thing.

    I dont think the powers involved are trying to reach a consensus on what to call the past in Northern Ireland, the concentration seems to be an a convenient packaging. Sadly, that may be all that can be achieved.

  • Disbielf

    Each and every victim deserves justice!! No matter who murdered their loved ones, Capital punishment was abolished here so why do paramilitary factions believe they can be judge, jury and murderer. There is no higharchy of victims, if you lost someone they you are a victim!!

    The IRA did not kill everyone, each is as guilty as the next. Collusion was not only between one parimilitatry grouping and the British Government with the aim of killing the other side. What about the people who were murdered by their “own” which was covered up in order for that person to gain rank and status in their organisation, or the people that were murder and their name and memory smeared because someone tried to justify their actions by labelling them an informant. Step on who you like so long as you serve the purpose or the agenda, which may I add is usually set by those who do not live amongst the ordinary people (the working class). Are we mearly puppets.

  • McGrath

    Has a survey / study ever been taken of victims families to determine what they actually want?

  • harpo

    If the thing is to be declared a war, then why do the brave killing boyos need any amnesty?

    On the basis that they fought a nice clean war they wouldn’t need an amnesty, would they? They would all just be soldiers who participated in a war.

    After WW2 for example, the various armies involved didn’t feel any need to declare any amnesty, did they?

    Are they asking for an amnesty because they all know that most of what they did constituted war crime?

    What would people have said if those Nazis who were tried at Nuremberg had been offered an amnesty in return for the truth?

    Whatever you call it (a conflict or war) surely people who committed crimes (regular crimes or war crimes) need to be held to account.

    Why should anyone get an amnesty?

  • harpo

    And if all of this may happen, why bother starting up the work of that historical inquiries team until after this ‘amnesty in return for the truth’ thing happens?

    If some people did actually come forward to admit their part in various events, in return for an amnesty, then isn’t it a waste of time to investigate these things until you are in the position of nobody having admitted to them?

    The truth regarding a number of events would be determined, so there would be no further need to have the historical inquiries folks investigate them, would there?

    That team could then concentrate on only those events that hadn’t been admitted to, so that the guilty there could be tracked down and charged.

    As usual the whole process is ass-backwards and piecemeal. In fact there is no logical process.

    What’s the point of investigating the La Mon House bombing at the moment (for example) if former PIRA volunteer X comes forward and admits that he and 3 guys who died since the bombing did it?

  • harpo

    “Has a survey / study ever been taken of victims families to determine what they actually want?”


    Not to be callous, but when have the families of victims, or victims themselves, ever been considered beyond platitudes?

    This is all about placating the feelings of the terrorists/war criminals. They get off free in return for telling the truth. That’s some deal.

    Next time there is a big conflict on the issue, why don’t we all go out and kill all around us? In the end some do-gooder is going to want to let us off scot-free if we tell them the truth about what we did.

    Why should anyone act decently?

  • McGrath

    My question is based on knowledge of two victims families, who frankly recognize they are never going to get the truth. Further, continuing to get at the truth is only aggravating the suffering, and albeit reluctantly they would rather move on.

    I have no idea if there is more prodominance to that sentiment, but I cant help thinking there are many who are screaming for justice who themselves are the least aggrieved.

  • willowfield


    What about the families of British Government collusion with loyalists are they not entitled to justice?

    Absolutely. But they won’t get it if those murders are deemed legitimate “acts of wars”.

    All sides in this conflict have suffered and there isn`t a hierarchy of grief and suffering.

    There is. The innocent victim gunned down in front of his family by masked terrorists is higher up the hierarchy than, say, the masked terrorist himself killed by his own bomb. The child killed in the Shankill bomb is higher up the hierarchy than the bomber.