Northern Ireland: Claudy bombings investigation suspension 'just the latest betrayal'

Amnesty International expressed profound disappointment at a suspension of the police investigation into the notorious Claudy bombings as “just the latest betrayal the Claudy families have faced".

Three car bombs exploded in Claudy on 31 July 1972, killing nine and injuring more than 30 people.

Families of the victims of the bombings in Claudy were informed on Friday by senior police officers last week that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has suspended its criminal investigation into the case. Last night some of the families began legal action against the PSNI, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Roman Catholic Church.

Unanswered questions remain about failures in the investigation of the Claudy bombings, including the role of institutions such as the police force and the Catholic Church, who shielded a priest from investigation, allowing him to evade justice.

Gordon Miller, who lost his father David in the Claudy bombings, and is one of the people bringing the legal action said:

“It is now 41 years since that dreadful day, and despite numerous meetings with the police, we are no further forward in our quest for truth and justice, and have not received any updates as to how the terrorists were being sought out within the police investigations.”

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“The announcement that yet another investigation is being abandoned is just the latest betrayal the Claudy families have faced.

“They simply want the truth about what happened that terrible day, and to know why those responsible weren’t brought to justice.

“Instead all they have been given is a series of narrow, inadequate investigations, each of which has caused further delay and confusion.

“This is a damning indictment of the complete failure of the piecemeal and hopelessly inadequate approach to dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.”

Amnesty published a report in September, which found that the patchwork system of investigation that has been established in Northern Ireland has proven inadequate for the task of establishing the truth about human rights violations and abuses committed by all sides during the three decades of political violence.

Amnesty continues to call for a comprehensive mechanism to be set up to review the conflict as a whole, establish the truth about outstanding human rights violations and determine responsibility. Such a mechanism would be an important step towards ending impunity for human rights violations and abuses in Northern Ireland and could contribute towards ending societal division.

  • Read our report - Northern Ireland: Time to deal with the past (PDF)

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