Belfast man sentenced in Germany for 1996 Provisional IRA attack on army barracks

A timely lesson from the German authorities on dealing with Northern Ireland legacy issues…  Having successfully extradited 48-year-old James Anthony Oliver Corry from the Republic of Ireland in December last year, the Belfast man has now been convicted and sentenced for his role in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996.

From the Irish Times report

A Northern Ireland man has been convicted in Germany of attempted murder for participating in an IRA attack on a British army barracks in the city of Osnabrueck more than two decades ago.

The court said James Anthony Oliver Corry was sentenced to four years in prison.

The 48-year-old Belfast man was extradited from the Republic of Ireland last December to face charges.

He was convicted of being part of an IRA unit that fired three mortar shells on to the grounds of the Quebec Barracks in Osnabrueck in northwest Germany on June 28th, 1996.

[Doesn’t Gerry Adams think that approach is “totally and absolutely counterproductive“? – Ed]  He might very well think that...

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  • Reader

    When we leave the EU, will SF support the campaign to keep the European Arrest Warrant?

  • murdockp

    This is a criminal matter. Justice served. Struggling to see the politics at play here.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    While having no time for the SF or PIRA, the Germans seem a lot keener on prosecuting someone for a crime carried out in a conflict that ended over 20 years ago than on prosecuting Islamists who’ve carried out even worse crimes a lot more recently. If I was this guy, I’d join ISIS and be out of jail next week.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    Also, how many Nazis did the Germans prosecute post-1965? I seem to remember there was a 20-year Statute of Limitations on Nazi war crimes back then (although the time period may have been increased since then).

  • Easóg

    Looking shakier with each passing day.

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s odd that this man was extradited when the authorities earlier had refused to extradite Roisin McAlliskey for same allegation. Or am I wrong about that?
    Should this case set a precedent I think justice requires consistency either way.

  • WindowLean

    Will there be a campaign?

  • Surveyor

    Don’t see this reported anywhere else. Pete must be bitterly disappointed with the lack of interest and the paltry 4 year sentence.

  • Granni Trixie

    You’re right. Four years could never make up for the damage done. Still, it sends out a signal that no one is supposed to be above the law.

  • Reader

    WindowLean: Will there be a campaign?
    Well, I can’t confirm it. However, given the number of people who think that everything about the EU is wonderful, it does seem likely that there will be people keen to salvage as much as possible.
    Personally, I am quite keen on Free Trade and (right now) the European Arrest Warrant. There will be other people with other interests (e.g. Freedom of Movement, ECJ, fancy paving stones)

  • Reader

    Surveyor: Pete must be bitterly disappointed with the lack of interest and the paltry 4 year sentence.
    I am sure Corry and any remaining sympathisers are taking a keen interest.
    As for the sentence, I expect Corry is glad – for the very first time – that he failed in his mission.

  • james

    Good to see the Germans taking a proactive approach to extremist groups carrying out terrorist attacks on their soil.

  • Aodh Morrison

    Did he lose his letter down the back of the sofa?

  • Granni Trixie

    It was reported in a newspaper account that he said in his own defense that he ‘got no letter of comfort’.

  • Aodh Morrison

    Not in with the In-Crowd then?

  • Granni Trixie

    Obviously not.

  • Surveyor

    Meanwhile the Tory party are in a coalition with a party which has links to the still active UDA. Funny how Pete never mentions that isn’t it?

  • james

    Presumably Gerry Kelly didn’t have him on speed dial. I suppose we can’t expect Mr Kelly to have the contact details for *every* Republican terrorist.

  • Neil

    United Ireland…

  • Granni Trixie

    At least at his trial in July this year he said that he had helped set the mortars, Though he said that he was no longer in the IRA he would not name his associates (according to the Guardian).

  • Gary Thompson

    Four years? He will probably serve only two. There’s a sniff of some sort of background deal there.

  • Easóg

    How could he be in the IRA now?

  • Granni Trixie

    You tell me.

  • Granni Trixie

    He already has one year off (making it 3 in jail) because there was ‘undue’ delay in bringing him to trial.

  • Gary Thompson

    His family will be somewhat comforted by his short detention one expects

  • Aodh Morrison

    Self-preservation is a powerful insensitive.

  • Starviking

    Which Islamists, who have committed a crime in Germany, have unduely been spared prosecution?

  • WindowLean

    So as we stand, no campaign for SF to be a part of. Thanks!

  • Skibo

    I wonder when Gibraltar is going to issue warrants for the suspects of the murder of three unarmed people in 1988?

  • Abucs

    I always favoured some kind of amnesty to put all of that madness behind us. I know there are many who felt differently. Obviously the attack being in Germany would be an extra level of complexity on that.

  • tmitch57

    Gibraltar, not being a sovereign territory, does not issue arrest warrants or any other kind.

  • Reader

    Neil: United Ireland…
    Well, in a United Ireland there would be no escaping the European Arrest Warrant. Swings and roundabouts for SF, then.

  • Granni Trixie

    The crime took place post 1994 ceasefire. Is it not the case that prior to that IN Ni people get a max 2 years even for murder. A kind of amnesty.

  • Oh, Gibraltar most certainly does (the Governor, on behalf of some law officer in the Government of Gibraltar)…because Gibraltar is not an English county either! And the English Home Secretary issues EAWs on behalf of Gibraltar.

    No, the question here is, do HM colonial civilian courts in Gibraltar have competence or jurisdiction on (back then) active service members of HM Home Armed Forces (in the United Kingdom), recruited in the UK, in units, regiments etc. raised in the UK, acting on behalf HM Government in the UK rather than on behalf of the Governor of Gibraltar and the Government of Gibraltar, and the answer is an emphatic No.

  • PeterBrown

    There are no suspects because there was no crime

  • Skibo

    So executing people in cold blood is an acceptable way of policing?

  • PeterBrown

    One man’s executing people in cold blood is another man’s neutralising a gang of ruthless terrorists who were reasonably believed to be about to detonate a remote control bomb with the intent of causing multiple deaths. When you actual present all the facts and not selective facts then suddenly it becomes an acceptable way of policing….

  • The Saint

    Wouldn’t it be bliss. No border to encourage criminality. Much better and more efficient policing.

  • Skibo

    Perhaps you should fill us in on the facts. Where was this remote control bomb? Did thy have a detonator on them? Did they have any weapons?
    Did the forces that executed them shout a warning?
    Was an investigation ever carried out?

  • tmitch57

    “And the English Home Secretary issues EAWs on behalf of Gibraltar.”

    You established my point.

  • PeterBrown

    Everyone knows the facts – they had travelled to Spain with the intention of bombing the Gibraltar changing of the guard and were intercepted having parked a suspect car in the assembly area. It was reasonably believed that this was to be a remote control device (though the IRA had not been so discriminating the previous year in Enniskillen when it bombed the Remembrance Parade with a timer device). The bomb as it turned out was still in their other car in Spain including the detonator and they were unarmed though ammunition was found with the bomb. Given that they were planning a remote control bomb attack it seems incredible that you expect a warning to have been given but the investigations found they were lawfully killed (their intended victims would have been executed – they were not!)

  • Skibo

    We hear so so much about the intelligence that the British had within the IRA yet no bomb was found, no weapons were on their bodies. They were executed on the streets. No investigation, on jury, no sentencing.
    They didn’t even try and arrest them and beat confessions out of them or plan bombs on them.
    British justice similar to Amritsar.

  • PeterBrown

    Yes their treatment compares so unfavourably with the justice system of the Republican movement where if you put a pillow below the head of an injured soldier you were kidnapped in front of your young family shot in the head and buried in an unmarked grave on a beach in a different country. Your children were left to fend for themselves and all this was then justified with some cock and bull story about you having an Allo Allo style radio in your flat.

    These were terrorists on active services perhaps you can remind us all of the alternative system of justice used and approved by their organisation which should have been adopted here?

  • Skibo

    So we are to judge the SAS and MI5 by the actions of the IRA?
    I wonder what would be said if we all said we should use those same criteria to resolve the UVF and the UDA?

  • PeterBrown

    There was a jury at the inquest and there was no sentencing because there was no crime – you cannot expect someone who is a ruthless terrorist and member of an organisation which refuses to abide by the relevant international norms of armed conflict (even uprisings not just the rules of war) and potentially in possession of the means of detonating a remote control bomb to be arrested. if you do not play by the rules and in fact refuse to accept that there are any rules you cannot expect the rules to be applied to you – that’s called hypocrisy. It’s a republican speciality…

  • Skibo

    Pete I have heard of the rule of law being bent for political gain but your statement is just breaking it in two.
    There were no weapons, there was no bomb and there was no detonator. It was a public execution.
    Does your assumption allow any security officer to shoot dead anyone with a phone?

  • PeterBrown

    Skibo

    If you knew anything about the law you would know that that is the law – the SAS had a reasonable belief that those they intercepted were terrorists with a bomb (which they were they had just not brought it with them that day).

    The law does not judge via 20:20 hindsight but by what those involved believed (provided it was reasonable) at the time. Here endeth the lesson…

  • Skibo

    Does nobody question the use of the SAS, just as they should have with the Paras acting in policing in Northern Ireland.
    The SAS are not police, they are not intelligence. They are an execution squad and take no prisoners.
    You do not need hind sight to consider the actions of the SAS in a policing operation!
    “An account of the deaths at variance to that provided in the Commons was given by Mrs Pepi Celecia, a housewife in Gibraltar , who said the three had been shot “in cold blood” by a man presumed to be a member of the British security forces. Mrs Celecia, who lives near a petrol station in Winston Churchill Avenue, was looking out of her window at about 3.30pm on Sunday. “I was watching a couple walking down the road in the direction of the border,” she said, “when I saw a blond man come up behind them and, without any warning, he shot at them. The woman, who was carrying a large shoulder bag, fell to the ground immediately. The young man, in a white tracksuit and running shoes, staggered towards the service station. The man fired at him four or five times more and he collapsed with blood all over the place.”

  • PeterBrown

    The SAS do and have taken prisoners (the only organisations which do not take prisoners are the ones that these terrorists were members of) and if you do not need hindsight then why are you holding the SAS to a higher standard than anyone else legally… You do of course realise that at the inquest that “Josie Celecia repeated her account of seeing a soldier shooting at McCann and Farrell while the pair were on the ground. Hucker pointed out that parts of Celecia’s testimony had changed since she spoke to “Death on the Rock”, and suggested that the gunfire she heard was from the shooting of Savage rather than sustained shooting of McCann and Farrell while they were on the ground, a suggestion Celecia rejected; the SAS’s lawyer further observed that she was unable to identify the military personnel in photographs her husband had taken.” But if she says something you want to believe let’s ignore those inconvenient facts claim this was murder when there is no conviction and ignore the behaviour of the terrorists and the organisation which they were members of – were they going to plant a special new type of remote control bomb which targeted only combatants or were they wiling to repeat Enniskillen and the even more indiscriminate near miss at Tullyhommon months before this incident.
    Yet another example of those with the New Forest in their eyes pointing out matchsticks in the eyes of others…..

  • Sub

    you cannot expect the rules to be applied to you –

    The Police and Army are subject to the rule of law and as such must apply the rules no matter what. Are you sure you are a solicitor

  • PeterBrown

    The terrorists claimed this was a war which legally justified them targeting unarmed and off duty members of the security forces and even civilians connected to the security forces but when targeted themselves want not the rules of war but the criminal law to be applied to them and then when they are arrested and imprisoned claim to be PoWs not criminals – that is the point Sub as made by a solicitor!

  • Skibo

    My thoughts too Sub. For a solicitor he seems quite able to bury the law when it suits him.

  • Skibo

    Either it was a war or it wasn’t. If it was then prisoners should have been entitled to political status. If not then the police, Army and SAS were subject to the standards of legal justice. How it all allows for Loyalist paramilitary groups to be used as puppets, I am not sure.

  • Sub

    Could you advise me of which firm you represent just so i know to avoid them if I should ever fall foul of the law.

  • Skibo

    Why would you think that the British Government would take a case against British soldiers?
    Of over 300 people killed in the North by the British Army, about half were innocent civilians. Only two soldiers made jail and even they were released early and let back into the British Army and promoted!
    Not only that but the European court of Human Rights found the deaths in violation of Article 2 stating that the information given to the soldiers made the deaths of the three almost inevitable.

  • PeterBrown

    Well that dealt with my point brilliantly – just be careful about calling my professional abilities into question there unless you have some evidence to back it up or I’ll give you another legal lesson http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_defence/#Pre-emptive

  • PeterBrown

    It was not a war by any widely acknowledged and accepted standard – only terrorists trying to portray themselves as soldiers when it suits them actually claim that it was a war.

    The police were and are subject to the rule of law and I will post the law on self defence in more detail
    In assessing the reasonableness of the force used, prosecutors should ask two questions:

    “was the use of force necessary in the circumstances, i.e. Was there a need for any force at all? and
    was the force used reasonable in the circumstances?
    The courts have indicated that both questions are to answered on the basis of the facts as the accused honestly believed them to be (R v Williams (G) 78 Cr App R 276), (R. v Oatbridge, 94 Cr App R 367).

    To that extent it is a subjective test. There is, however, an objective element to the test. The jury must then go on to ask themselves whether, on the basis of the facts as the accused believed them to be, a reasonable person would regard the force used as reasonable or excessive.”

    So if you reasonably believe that someone is a bomber (which in this case no one is seriously disputing that they were) then you are legally entitled to ensure that they do not detonate that bomb by remote control. Even the European Court of Human Rights criticised only the planning not the execution if you’ll pardon the pun of the operation but maybe you and Sub are better lawyers than them too…

  • PeterBrown

    And the European Court of Human Rights agrees with me and the British government but presumably they are wrong and not as good lawyers as you boys as well – flawed planning but not a flawed operation on the ground and even the finding against the government was by 10-9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCann_and_Others_v_United_Kingdom

  • Skibo

    The ECHR does not agree with you
    the court found that the operation had been in violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights as the authorities’ failure to arrest the suspects at the border, combined with the information given to the soldiers, rendered the use of lethal force almost inevitable.
    Flawed planning led to a flawed operation on the ground. Those who briefed the SAS should have been held accountable even if the SAS were not.

  • Sub

    Do not lecture me on the use of force. As an Ex Serviceman i am well versed in both the use of firearms and the law governing their use. The SAS operation was a classic shoot to kill job. It is virtually impossible to justify shooting someone sixteen times in the head and back at point blank range when they were unarmed. The ECHR stated as much n their judgement. I suspect your own prejudice is somewhat colouring your view.

  • PeterBrown

    ECHR found the planning was flawed but the execution was lawful hence no damages and it was not premeditated shoot to kill as you claim – let’s not cherry pick!

  • Sub

    Although detailed investigation at the inquest into the training received by the soldiers was prevented by the public interest certificates which had been issued (see paragraph 104, at point 1. (iii) above), it is not clear whether they had been trained or instructed to assess whether the use of firearms to wound their targets may have been warranted by the specific circumstances that confronted them at the moment of arrest.
    Their reflex action in this vital respect lacks the degree of caution in the use of firearms to be expected from law enforcement personnel in a democratic society, even when dealing with dangerous terrorist suspects, and stands in marked contrast to the standard of care reflected in the instructions in the use of firearms by the police which had been drawn to their attention and which emphasised the legal responsibilities of the individual officer in the light of conditions prevailing at the moment of engagement (see paragraphs 136 and 137 above).
    This failure by the authorities also suggests a lack of appropriate care in the control and organisation of the arrest operation.
    213. .In sum, having regard to the decision not to prevent the suspects from travelling into Gibraltar, to the failure of the authorities to make sufficient allowances for the possibility that their intelligence assessments might, in some respects at least, be erroneous and to the automatic recourse to lethal force when the soldiers opened fire, the Court is not persuaded that the killing of the three terrorists constituted the use of force which was no more than absolutely necessary in defence of persons from unlawful violence within the meaning of Article 2 para. 2 (a) (art. 2-2-a) of the Convention.
    214. Accordingly, the Court finds that there has been a breach of Article 2 (art. 2) of the Convention.

  • PeterBrown

    So you can lecture me about law but I cannot point out that the ECHR did not find the soldiers action to be premeditated or unlawful but your application of your experience to your Googling of the facts makes you better informed than their days of oral evidence and mountains of written evidence and I am the one who is prejudiced? Dead on…

  • Sub

    TO

  • Sub

    The court did find that there had been a breach of ART2 read the judgement

  • Skibo

    If the planning was flawed and led to murder then the planners should have been culpable, at least for manslaughter.

  • PeterBrown

    Not what the judgment says – the investigation of the killing (and by implication the absence of prosecution) were not in breach of Article 2 and the investigation found they were lawfully killed

  • PeterBrown

    Yet the judgment endorses the investigation (inquest) and its finding that the killings are lawfu. Just because the planning was flawed and in breach of ECHR does not mean a crime was committed and they at no point make any finding about criminal culpability other than that the investigation and its outcome were up to the requisite standard

  • Skibo

    Pete I don’t want to sound pedantic but could you post a reference where it shows that Article 2 was not breached?

    Anything I have read about it states that the Government were found to have breached article 2 and the EHCR ordered the Government to pay the costs of the families.

    The decision was so controversial for the Government that they considered withdrawing from the EHCR.

  • PeterBrown

    They found the planning was unlawful but the soldiers actions on the day were lawful – and breaches of human rights are not criminal per se and they were satisfied that there was a lawful investigation and the the lack of prosecutions was also lawful

  • PeterBrown

    You have described this action as murder and execution in cold blood that was not investigated. The ECHR found that the planning was flawed and in breach of ECHR but that the soldier’s action and the investigation via and inquest and finding of lawful killing were lawful. There was no crime here just a flawed planning process and the investigation and lack criminal prosecution were not even a breach of the terrorists human rights never mind a crime – I have never claimed that the there was no finding against the government only that the actions of the solider and the subsequent lack of criminal prosecution were not criticised by the court and they were not. Not a penny in damages was paid – the costs were a technicality and the families won on only on one technicality about the planning of the operation by 10-9. In relation to murder or execution “The Court therefore rejects as unsubstantiated the applicants’ allegations that the killing of the three suspects was premeditated or the product of a tacit agreement amongst those involved in the operation” – not murder, not execution. In relation to the lack of investigation the Court agreed with the Commission that “the inquest subjected the actions of the State to extensive, independent and highly public scrutiny and thereby provided sufficient procedural safeguards for the purposes of Article 2 (art. 2) of the Convention.” The investigation with its finding of lawful killing was endorsed – all of your allegations are groundless.

  • Skibo

    A flawed planning process and investigation that led to the death of three people who could have been arrested.

    The costs were not a technicality. The ECHR ordered the British Government to pay the costs. No technicality. It actually it led to serious ramifications between John Major’s government and the position of the British Government as a signatory of the ECHR.
    Probably one of the reasons that TM wants to pull out of the ECHR.

  • PeterBrown

    Not what the court found just an assumption on your part – what they did find was that there was no premeditated murder or execution and that there was an investigation – a direct contradiction of your initial posts

  • Hugh Davison

    Didn’t the ECHR find that the hooded men were not tortured, although they WERE tortured?

  • Skibo

    So it was complete incompetence on the side of the initial investigation.
    Now the one thing I have a problem with is expecting the British to tell the truth on this. It took forty years to get to the bottom of Bloody Sunday and you would probably have backed the original investigations there too.
    Still no British soldiers held accountable for deaths of fourteen citizens.

  • PeterBrown

    Nice deflection there but that cannot disguise the fact that the court did not find complete incompetence in the initial investigation – the investigation was actually supported not criticised by the court! The opposite of what you just claimed!

  • PeterBrown

    If the court did find that and they were tortured then please provide the links

  • Skibo

    First of all you say there was a flawed investigation and the wrong information was supplied to the SAS, in an effort to defend the massive overuse of weapons and now you say the investigation was supported.
    as I said above, perhaps in another twenty years we will find out the real truth of this operation. Then again the people of Ballymurphy are still waiting.
    At least the bastion of British justice was put right in the Birmingham six and the Guildford four. One of them still died in prison though.

  • PeterBrown

    Skibo please read this quote again

    “There was no crime here just a flawed planning process and the investigation and lack criminal prosecution were not even a breach of the terrorists human rights never mind a crime”

    This means the planning process was flawed but the investigation and lack of criminal prosecution were not an issue for the court – not that the investigation was flawed because the court threw that allegation out.

    The truth is probably out there already but please bear in mind any truth recovery process needs to be two way and the republican movement has been more reticent even that the government to engage in that process (how many disappeared bodies are the government still holding on to?)

    But that again is deflection from the fact the your allegations has been disproved in court….

  • Skibo

    There was no crime on Bloody Sunday originally other than people throwing blast bombs. All found to be a pack of lies eventually and it took £250 million to get to the bottom of it. Has anyone been brought to account for those deaths?
    Perhaps if we wait long enough some of the SAS men will write a book and the true story will come out.
    As for disappeared, I think the issue is people’s memories and changing landscapes. Much time and energy has gone into finding the disappeared.
    Just an issue for you, how many bodies have the Loyalists given up?

  • PeterBrown

    The lack of criminal prosecutions for Bloody Sunday has never been confirmed by ECHR and the criminal investigation of those on both sides who opened fire that day is still ongoing . This decision not to prosecute has been.

    How many loyalist disappeared are there ?

  • Skibo

    Lisa Dorian and Mark Gourley would be two that I have heard of.

  • Hugh Davison
  • PeterBrown

    Neither of these is a conflict killing – Dorrian appears to have been a loyalist in a private capacity and Gourlley the police aren’t even sure it was paramilitaries who (presumably) killed him and I am not here to defend the lack of truthfulness of any paramilitaries – I was actually pointing out that terrorists (on both sides) can;t handle the truth as it were. You are actually reinforcing my point….

  • PeterBrown

    One man’s torture is another man’s inhuman and degrading treatment it would seem – but if you really want to see torture see the activities of paramilitaries….

  • Skibo

    Oh I am sorry, I didn’t realise that you were making a difference in murder now or which disappeared count and which don’t.
    The Loyalists may not have taken responsibility for them but that never stopped anyone complaining about Republican disappeared. By the way Mark Gourley:
    http://www.irishnews.com/news/2016/04/26/news/mark-gourley-murder-two-arrests-in-loyalist-disappeared-case-498398/
    You seem to put an importance in showing that Loyalists are not as bad as Republicans!

  • PeterBrown

    You seem to be trying to take us even further off topic now that I have proven your claims if a murderous execution are not accepted by ECHR. If incompetent planning is manslaughter and republicans are committed to full disclosure I look forward to the SF president handing himself in to serve his time for Bloody Friday and La Mon

  • Hugh Davison

    You’re happy enough to see innocent people being tortured by the state? Until it happens to you, perhaps.

  • PeterBrown

    The innocent should not be tortured by anyone – you seem to be happy enough provided the state doesn’t do it (like PFC CAJ etc). Until it happens to you, perhaps.

  • Hugh Davison

    I give you fact, documented, with links. You give me innuendo and assumptions about my thoughts. What kind of discussion is that? Don’t bother to respond to this. I’m tired of it.

  • PeterBrown

    You corroborated my statement that ECHR found that they were not tortured the only fact you have provided, I agreed that the innocent (whatever that means in this context) should not be tortured (and I will go further and state that even the guilty should not be tortured) whereas you and the NGOs referred to in your links seem only interested in those tortured by the state (your limitation not mine) and then you go off in a huff and tell me not to respond – that is not a discussion at all!