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19 February 2004 Edition

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SF demands real truth recovery process

A commission to deal with the legacy of the conflict would become a stalling mechanism for the British Government to hide behind, said Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Gery Kelly on Wednesday.

He was reacting after Policing Board Chair Des Rea and Vice Chair Denis Bradley announced their idea that a commission to deal with the conflict should be established. Rea said he was making the recommendation in a personal capacity but with Bradley's support. He added that such a commission would be better than having more public inquiries.

The proposals highlighted the issue of human rights abusers within the current policing structures and the separate issue of developing a truth recovery process, according to Kelly.

"The fact is that the RUC moved en masse into the PSNI," he said. "This means that at the heart of the current policing arrangements are those human rights abusers who organised and participated in a campaign of terror against the nationalist community. These people should not be involved in the current policing arrangements. If Des Rea's announcement today is about protecting these people and maintaining their role within existing policing structures, then that is totally unacceptable.

"The proposal for a commission to report on this issue will in effect become another stalling mechanism. In the case of Pat Finucane, all of the key people involved were British agents and we have already had 15 years of stalling aimed at preventing the truth emerging. The British State is desperately trying to hide the truth. Are the senior figures in the Policing Board, including Denis Bradley, now telling the Finucane family and others that they support continued stalling?

"Last September, Sinn Féin attempted to begin a debate around the issue of truth when we published a consultation document on the issue. That work is continuing under my colleague Philip McGuigan.

"Different families of those killed throughout the past three decades have different models in mind to find the truth or closure. Some families want inquiries and others want prosecutions. Many of the families I have spoken to want to know who was politically responsibility for orchestrating and developing a campaign of State-sponsored murder in the North.

"Sinn Féin has consistently supported families and we will continue to do this.

"Our position is that we want to see the truth and the development of a victim-based process to achieve this."

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