In the Belfast Telegraph, Brian Rowan picks up on former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s call for a “unified investigatory body with powers to arrest and prosecute” to deal with the past and argues that this can only ever be a partial solution. From the Belfast Telegraph article.
Investigations will only scratch the surface of what happened. The past is not just about who pulled a trigger, or who placed a bomb. It is about the orders and the thinking behind those actions.
Again, not just what happened, but why? It is not about goodies and baddies; not just about republicans and loyalists, but about those in politics, security and intelligence who dabbled in the dark arts of war.
It is about achieving the best information and explanation behind what happened and about trying to ensure it doesn’t happen again. And you don’t achieve that by investigation and throwing a few people in jail.
We also need to think about what happens when the work of the HET is complete. Many of the unanswered questions of the past decades will still be sitting there waiting for a response; for the information and explanation that could make a difference.
So, this needs a bright idea, some big thinking, something new. It needs a process that can answer many questions and not just a few.
And out there, in our world of politics, there are those who don’t even want to think about that. Why? Because of the ugly truths that could emerge. [added emphasis]