Northern Ireland: victims betrayed as First Minister blocks ‘Troubles’ inquest plan

Responding to a report that Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster has blocked a plan by the Lord Chief Justice for a major investment to address the backlog in Troubles-related inquests, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

 

“It is extremely disappointing to hear that the First Minister has blocked clearly articulated and reasoned plans from the Lord Chief Justice to deal with the backlog of 'legacy inquests' in Northern Ireland.

 

“Bereaved family members have already been made to wait for decades for a proper investigation into the deaths of their loved ones. To snatch away the prospect of an inquest, after decades of delay and denial of justice, will only add to victims’ sense of betrayal.

 

“Putting right this wrong must be the number one item on the agenda at the first meeting of the new Northern Ireland Executive after this week's election.”

 

Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan has proposed setting up a legacy inquest unit with its own staff to deal with Troubles-related inquests. He said the remaining legacy inquests in Northern Ireland could be dealt with in five years if he received the necessary funding.

 

The BBC has reported that Northern Ireland's First Minister blocked discussion by the Executive of a proposal from the region's Justice Minister for a request for funding to be submitted to the UK government which would have allowed the new inquest unit to be established.

 

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