Relatives for Justice Director (RFJ), Mark Thompson, has called on the North’s “Secretary of State to stop the politicking and delaying tactics preventing legacy inquests from taking place.”
Speaking after Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), Sir Declan Morgan, who today expressed ‘huge disappointment’ concerning the failure to fund his strategic plan to hear legacy inquests the RFJ Director said;
“As the signatory to the European Convention it is the sole responsibility of the UK government to ensure that Article 2 complaint inquests are held into these killings.
“When presented with a very sensible plan for progressing legacy inquest by LCJ Morgan, Theresa Villiers batted the matter to the joint First Ministers for agreement. This was a tactic aimed at further delay in that it was clear that the DUP would likely seek to block the LCJ’s plan from being implemented.
“Neither Martin McGuinness nor Arlene Foster sign the Convention nor do they have the authority to ratify Convention rights.
“This is a reserved matter for the sovereign government not the devolved administration.
“The European Court and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe state clearly that the human rights responsibility of holding and resourcing legacy inquests as being the sole responsibility of London and consequently the NIO.
“In developing his 5-year plan for hearing legacy inquests the LCJ consulted with the European Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Nils Muižnieks; the Strasbourg based body appointed by the Committee of Ministers (CoM) for supervising judgments form the European Court, the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Non-Recurrence, Mr. Pablo De Greiff; as well as families.
“The time has come for politicking by the NIO and London on this matter to cease. Families have faced decades of deliberate delay, exacerbating their trauma, as well as denying their rights as victims, and it is unacceptable that the NIO continue to delay.
“RFJ are calling on the Secretary of State to stop the delaying tactics preventing legacy inquests from taking place. RFJ are calling on James Brokenshire to release the necessary resources for the implementation of the LCJ’s plan.”ENDS
Editors Notes: There are currently 57 legacy inquests involving just fewer than 100 killings. The 57 include a mixture of inquests into killings from the 1990’s yet to be heard; and other inquests from the 1970’s and 80’s reopened by the Attorney General as a result of new evidence uncovered and or deliberately withheld at the time of the original inquest. RFJ are supporting over 40 of these families.