Britain Indicted in European Court Judgment
Originally published between May 3rd and 6th, 2001
British policy, the RUC police, and the legal and judicial system which they created, stand indicted following a historic ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin's spokesperson on policing has described Friday's judgment as "the single most important legal judgment in 30 years of conflict."
The Court ruled that 11 people killed by the British Crown forces in the North of Ireland and another murdered by a loyalist death-squad had their human rights violated. The court ordered the British government to pay costs plus £10,000 compensation to relatives of each of the victims.
The court was considering four cases concerning nine people killed during an ambush at Loughgall in 1987, two unarmed men shot dead by the RUC and a Sinn Féin activist who was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries.
The seven judges ruled that in all four cases the authorities had failed to conduct the proper investigation into the deaths, thus violating Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The fact that no independent investigations took place -- the "security forces" claimed have to investigated themselves -- was the main point which convinced the court that the families had not received justice.
In particular, the court objected to the fact that the perpetrators of the kilings could not be required to testify at the inquests, and that the "shoot-to-kill" ambushes of British forces and their collusion with loyalists had not been addressed in any legal forum.
The clear implication of the ruling was that the British government, by failing to allow open investigations into the killings, was seeking to cover its tracks.
Relatives of those shot dead have now called for an independent international inquiry into their deaths. As the controversies over the killings of defence laywers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson continue to spiral, the pressure on the British government to tell the truth on its state killings in the North of Ireland is intense.
Backed by human rights groups, Sinn Féin and powerful US Congressmen, those involved in the European case are now calling on the United Nations to send a delegation of Special Rapporteurs on Summary and Arbitrary Execution for a preliminary fact finding mission to the North of Ireland.
Mr Mark Thompson, a spokesman for the human rights group Relatives for Justice, which has been supporting the families throughout the European court case, said the group was seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish Prime Minister to appeal to him to use his influence both with the British government and the United Nations to set up an investigation.
"We are calling on the Irish government to push for a full inquiry," he said. "We also feel that it is now time for the UN to come in. This case, which is the most important one ever to have come from the North, is a severe indictment of a [British] government that claims to be democratic and lectures others on human rights," Mr Thompson added.
Editor's note: Again, here is a case of decent people not realizing what the UN truly is. How can an organization that was formed by David Rockefeller and other Illuminati, be sincerely interested in the truth and justice?
He said one of the most important aspects of yesterday's ruling was that it had "shattered the myth" of the British state as a peace-keeper rather than a protagonist in the conflict.
Mr Jonathan McKerr, who was eight when his father, Gervaise, was killed, said the families had always been convinced of their case.
"We always knew our loved ones were victims of a shoot-to-kill policy which the British government, adding insult to injury, has been denying existed up to this day. We are pleased that the European Court, unlike any other, has not let us down and we would encourage the families of other victims of the security forces to take their cases as far as they can."
Ms Mary Shanaghan, mother of Patrick, said her feelings of joy at the verdict were tinged with sadness.
"Despite the fact that this is a significant victory for our family, it is also a sad time for us. Patrick's murder cannot be undone. But it makes it a little easier for us in that his death has not been in vain. This judgment should mean that families in the same situation should in future be able to get justice in the courts here rather than having to go to Strasbourg."
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