Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

26 January 2006 Edition

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Sham investigation by old boys club

"Should I live to be 150, the loss will stay with me." These are the words of Belfast woman Margaret Kennedy, who at nine years of age witnessed the murder of her mother Maura Meehan and her aunt Dorothy Maguire by British soldiers.

Margaret is just one of the victims of Britain's state-sponsored policy of murder and collusion in the Six Counties and her's is just one of the cases to be investigated by the British Government under the new Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

Reaction to the new team, which began its work this week, has been one of disappointment and indignation. How can members of the state independently investigate crimes carried out by the state?

Families have rightly pointed out that the team does not come close to the process of truth and justice that they have sought. They demanded an international, independent inquiry into their relatives' deaths. They got a group made up of British civil servants, British police officers and former members of the RUC, all of which will report to the North's Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

Scepticism about the British Government's desire to see the actual truth about its involvement in the North of Ireland started long before this team was formed.

The British Government has fostered an underhanded culture of concealment and cover-up for decades. A recent example of its fight against truth came with the introduction of the controversial Inquiries Act, which allows investigations to leave out key witnesses and facts and keeps evidence from the public.

This is the legislation that the British Government wants to impose on the Pat Finucane inquiry. The murder of Pat Finucane is a direct result of the secret world of state collusion with loyalist death squads and the British Government has shown itself more than reluctant for the full facts of that matter to come out. The HET follows strongly in this tradition of masking the truth.

The problem with this team goes beyond nationalist perceptions of it. It fails to fulfil Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998, and therefore is not compatible with international human rights investigative standards.

Effectively, the British Government has just thrown £30 million at an RUC old boys' club to further conceal their crimes.

An Phoblacht
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