Relatives for Justice responds to Comments from European Court on Finucane and Legacy Cases

Irati Oleaga Aiesta

RFJ Welcomes Findings of the Committee of Ministers

By RFJ Caseworker Irati Oleaga Aiesta

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in its constant supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, has sent a strong message today to the UK Government to adhere to and comply with its international legal obligations, as requested by RFJ submission after submission.

Europe’s leading human rights body has decided to reopen its consideration of the case of Pat Finucane, following the decision of the UK Government not to order a public inquiry into the murder in November. Secretary of State Brandon Lewis made the disappointing decision not to carry out a public inquiry “at this time”, in order to enable a police review process and investigations by the Office of the Police Ombudsman to proceed. Shortly after his statement, however, the Chief Constable of the PSNI, Simon Byrne, and Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson contradicted the statement, confirming that, in fact, there were no ongoing investigations regarding the murder of Pat Finucane within their respective caseloads. The Committee of Ministers has asked the Government to clarify how those reviews would proceed promptly and in line with standards of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Council of Europe has also reiterated its profound concern about the delay and continued lack of detail on how the British authorities intend to ensure that effective independent investigations are enacted in the shortest possible timeframe. The full decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe can be found in the following link:

As part of our engagement with human rights bodies, RFJ has made several submissions to the Committee regarding the ongoing failure by the British State to ensure that victims of our conflict will receive human rights compliant investigations into the killings of their loved ones. We understand that only consistent international scrutiny is likely to encourage the UK to implement its international human rights obligations in respect of legacy issues. We therefore welcome the decision of the Committee, as well as its ongoing scrutiny of the UK’s record. Without this, the UK Government’s own approach to dealing with its actions would undermine the rule of law and respect for international human rights.

RFJ’s submission can be read here RFJ submission to Committee of Ministers Feb 2021