Consultation on Dealing with the Past Launched: Initial thoughts

Initial response to publication of consultation on legislation to address the past

We welcome the long overdue publication of this legislation that will hopefully give effect to the four key legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in December 2014.

In the intervening period many relatives from across the community who had loved ones killed have sadly passed away without living to see resolution or this process even being started.

We think of them and their dignified and inspiring fight for truth, justice and accountability on behalf of their loved ones.

We owe it to them and those who were killed to ensure that we get the process right and that it delivers for all victims and survivors.

It is of note that in the accompanying preamble the British Secretary of State pays a particularly glowing tribute to the role state forces in the conflict. This is a major concern for victims of state violence and collusion.

In a process that is supposedly designed to independently investigate all unsolved conflict killings such a statement could be seen as prejudicial to investigating the state.

Our hope is the realization of these mechanisms as originally intended and without interference.

Vigilance will be required in terms of the passage of this legislation through the British parliament, the recruitment of a HIU director and staff.

Relatives for Justice has now begun the process of studying the draft legislation and seeking external international expert advices as to its suitability for the purposes of the mechanisms agreed, human rights compliance, and for informing the consultation process. In particular this will examine the national security clauses and the rights of families to disclosure of the truth.

We will be supporting and empowering families to individually contribute to the process also.

The Link to the Consultation documents can be found here SHA Legacy Mechanisms Consultation Documents