Northern Ireland: Re-branded HET is not the solution to investigating past abuses

Responding to the Chief Constable's announcement today of a new Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB) within the PSNI to replace the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

"We are studying with interest today's formal announcement by the Chief Constable of the establishment of a Legacy Investigations Branch within the PSNI. While the LIB, essentially a re-branded and pared down HET, may well be what the PSNI believes it can contribute, the fact is society in Northern Ireland and the victims of human rights violations and abuses need an altogether more comprehensive approach.

"International human rights law demands prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigations where victims of human rights violations and abuses enjoy effective access. The HET failed on many of those counts, not least on independence. We remain unpersuaded about how the LIB would, as it stands, meet the test of independence. The Assistant Chief Constable has also made it clear that the LIB is unlikely to be prompt in its work given resource and staffing constraints.

"Amnesty International remains firmly of the view that what Northern Ireland needs is a single comprehensive mechanism capable of addressing the past. Political leaders need to act decisively; further complacency can only lead to more fragmentary and incremental additions to the piecemeal way we have tried to deal with the past in Northern Ireland."

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