NORTHERN IRELAND: Human Rights Day call to British government

Loyalist paramilitaries claimed responsibility for the car bomb which killed her nearly nine months ago.

The organisations recognize the current criminal investigation is limited to the circumstances of the murder and will not be able to address government responsibility and the crucial issues of impunity and accountability in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The death of Rosemary Nelson undermined the rule of law and was a serious indictment of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's (RUC) failure to protect her life.

The failure to carry out an independent inquiry into the death of human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane ten years ago has contributed to a pattern of impunity and intimidation of lawyers by police officers .

The remit of the independent inquiry should include investigation of:

Rosemary Nelson's complaints against RUC harassment and intimidation, which should be in the context of investigating alleged RUC harassment and intimidation of other lawyers through their clients in special interrogation centres;

death threats received by Rosemary Nelson in the context of death threats made to others by

Loyalist paramilitaries at the same time;

the RUC's failure to initiate an impartial investigation into her allegations of consistent threats;

the RUC's failure to investigate other lawyers'allegations of threats and intimidation;

the RUC's failure to take Rosemary Nelson's fears seriously, to take complaints from human rights organisations seriously, and ultimately to protect her life;

the Northern Ireland Office's failure to ensure protection of Rosemary Nelson's life;

the Northern Ireland Office's failure to implement most of the recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in 1998 concerning the intimidation of lawyers.

The statement was issued by Amnesty International, British Irish rights watch, the Center for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists (CIJL), Committee on the

Administration of Justice (CAJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR).

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