::: u.tv :::

'Shoot-to-kill' inquiries bid blocked
By:Press Association

Legal moves aimed at forcing the government to conduct fresh
inquiries into alleged ''shoot-to-kill'' deaths at the hands of
security forces in Northern Ireland more than 20 years ago were
blocked by the House of Lords today.

Five Law Lords ruled that the government`s obligation under the Human
Rights Act to carry out ``effective and independent`` investigations
into killings by state agents did not apply to deaths which occurred
before the Act came into force in 2002.

The decision was a bitter blow for the families of nine men shot dead
by the RUC who have launched proceedings in the Northern Ireland
courts in the wake of a test case judgment by the European Court of
Human Rights condemning the initial investigations into one of the
deaths for their ``lack of independence and transparency``.

The test case was brought by Jonathan McKerr, whose father Gervaise
was one of three unarmed IRA men who died in a hail of bullets when
police fired 109 rounds at a car they were in near Lurgan, County
Armagh, in November 1982. The nine cases were awaiting the outcome of
this appeal.

The European court ordered the government to pay Mr McKerr £10,000
for the ``frustration, distress and anxiety`` caused by shortcomings
in the original investigations into his father`s death and the

The Government paid the money, but refused to order a fresh inquiry,
arguing that it would be near-impossible after a lapse of so many
years and that, in any event, the Human Rights Act could not be
applied to the case retrospectively.

In today`s judgment, the Law Lords unanimously allowed an appeal by
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy against a declaration won by
Mr McKerr in the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal to the effect that
the government had failed to carry out an investigation in compliance
with human rights law.

After the ruling, Sinn Fein reiterated its support for the McKerr
family and called for a full independent inquiry.

Sinn Fein`s John O`Dowd said: ``It is disgraceful that the McKerr
family will now be forced into further legal action. It is likely
that they will be forced to take this back to the European Court.

``The British government need to end their policy of concealment and
need to face up to the legacy left by the policy of state-sanctioned
and state-supported murder.``

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?