This Rule 9 communication is for consideration at the 1259th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies in June 2016. CAJ has regularly made Rule 9 communications to the Committee of Ministers on the ‘McKerr group of cases’ that have charted the evolution of the ‘package of measures’ agreed to by the UK further to the above judgments.
In December 2014 the British Government published the Stormont House Agreement (SHA), the result of talks involving the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive and the British and Irish Governments. The SHA provided for a new set of institutions to deal with the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict, including a new ‘Historical Investigations Unit – HIU’ to conduct Article 2 compliant investigations into conflict-related deaths. The SHA also provided for measures to maintain and make legacy inquests Article 2 compliant. At the time of writing progress is currently blocked on both establishing the SHA institutions and the taking forward of ‘legacy inquests’ and some Police Ombudsman investigations:
- Legislation was to have completed passage through the UK Parliament to establish the SHA institutions but was derailed by the UK government belatedly inserting an undefined ministerial ‘national security’ veto over disclosure to families of the findings of HIU investigations;
- Despite a review and overarching plan by the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland to deal with the approximately 55 outstanding legacy-inquests in an Article 2 compliant manner over the next five years –the UK government has not yet released the financial resources to allow this to take place;
- There continues to be a withholding of resources from the Police Ombudsman for legacy investigations.