UK: Human rights groups call for prompt publication of Cory collusion reports

On the eve of the handing over of his reports, four international and domestic human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged the United Kingdom and Irish governments to commit themselves to publishing the reports promptly.

Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and Human Rights Watch said that there could be no excuse for undue delays in publishing the reports because Judge Cory had checked sensitive information with the relevant security agency in each jurisdiction.

The NGOs understand that insofar as is possible Judge Cory has attempted to write the reports in a way which does not compromise the safety of individuals or national security. Therefore, while the governments may have to examine the reports to ensure that this is indeed the case, there should be no reason for undue delay.

A spokesperson for the organisations noted that the families in each of these cases had already waited years for the establishment of public inquiries and their distress should not now be compounded by further delay on the part of the two governments.

The groups also reiterated their view that the UK government was obliged under domestic and international law to immediately establish full public international judicial inquiries into the cases of Patrick Finucane, Robert Hamill, Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson. Continuing delay will only result in a greater erosion of public confidence in the rule of law and may result in the loss of further important testimonies.

Background

Justice Peter Cory was appointed by the UK and Irish governments in May 2002 to investigate the killings of human rights lawyers Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, in 1989 and 1999, respectively; the 1997 sectarian killing of Robert Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic man; the 1989 killing of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, two police officers; those of Lord Justice Maurice and Lady Cecily Gibson in 1987; and the 1997 killing of Billy Wright, a leading Loyalist paramilitary, shot dead in the Maze prison.

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