The following statement is released by Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson;
Focus of Eames/Bradley should be on the truth and not distractions
In terms of the sensationalist focus by some media on families that may receive 12K, if these recommendations are indeed contained within the Eames/Bradley report, Relatives for Justice (RFJ) said that there can be no price or financial premium for truth and justice. The focus of RFJ and the families we support is for the truth about what happened to their loved ones via the use of lethal force and systemic policies of collusion and shoot-to-kill all directed with impunity.
For this past year we have been engaged with the Eames/Bradley process making clear representations about what is required – these engagements have been in partnership with leading human rights and campaign groups supporting over one thousand families affected by the conflict.
As we collectively attempt to find an agreed way forward in terms of a truth recovery process the singular focus on 12K is not helpful to achieving that aim. Reparations should come at the end of a process of truth recovery that focuses on individual acts of human rights violations, thematic patterns of abuse and the nature, causes and extent of the conflict. To address reparations in this way would avoid the type of hysterical reactions we have witnessed in the past 48hrs – especially from unionists – concerning who should and should not receive the 12K in which the actions of key actors such as Special Branch and British Military Intelligence are somehow distinguishable from non-state actors to the conflict. That is why we need an independent international truth process whereby we begin to see a more accurate and definitive narrative of the conflict. If we apply fully the unionist logic then the families of members of the RUC and British army would also not be entitled to anything given their roles in collusion and shoot-to-kill – essentially this is a nothing argument and a distraction from the core focus which should be on the truth.
And so as we await the publication of Eames/Bradley we equally await proposals for new structures and mechanisms that represent a departure from the failings of previous initiatives that were, and are, more to do with management, control and the suppression of truth than truth recovery. This year witnessed possibly the single biggest contribution to the debate of dealing with the past in publication of Dr. Patricia Lundy’s report on the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) exposing the ‘gatekeepers’ within the HET who were formerly members of RUC Special Branch. A response to Dr. Lundy’s report can be accessed on our website.
We are firmly of the view that any future process must be underpinned by the need for total independence demonstrated not only in the composition of any commission but importantly by its operational independence and integrity via clear terms of reference legislated for across both jurisdictions north and south.
That is why following our joint statement, calling for a truth commission, the same organisations subsequently published 9 key principles that we believe should be at the heart of and guide any emerging truth process.