‘Legacy law must protect victims’ rights to justice and truth’ - victim's call on Stormont House Agreement
Government legislation on dealing with the past must guarantee victims' rights to truth and justice. That's the call which a victims' campaigner will make on Wednesday at the launch of a new report on the legacy of the Troubles.
Alan Brecknell was just seven years old when his father was killed in a paramilitary gun and bomb attack in 1975. Now he says that, after waiting for decades for proper processes to deal with the past, the Government must deliver for victims by legislating for the Stormont House Agreement in good faith:
"My family and thousands like us have waited too long to see truth and justice for what happened to our loved ones. The UK government must now act in good faith to legislate for all the mechanisms agreed at Stormont House - including the Historic Investigations Unit to investigate past atrocities, and an information recovery commission to let victims know what happened to their family members.
"Different victims want different things from new mechanisms to deal with the past. Indeed, my own family has different views on issues such as the need for prosecutions. But every victim has the right to justice and the right to truth and, after so many false dawns in the past, the government at Westminster must now deliver, in full, new effective mechanisms to finally deal with our terrible recent history."
Mr Brecknell was speaking in advance of an event to be held in Belfast on Wednesday which will see victims, human rights campaigners and academics gather for the launch of a new report on Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland. They will discuss proposals on how the Stormont House Agreement commitments on new mechanisms to deal with the legacy of the Troubles should be implemented.
Campaigners from Amnesty International and the Committee on the Adminstration of Justice will join experts from the two local universities to launch a new report, as well as model legislation which would give effect to the Stormont House Agreement commitments on dealing with the past. The UK government is expected to publish its own draft legislation next month. The campaigners want to ensure that the legislation will guarantee victims' rights to truth and justice.
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