Submission to the Committee of Ministers from CAJ in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland
This Rule 9 communication is for consideration at the 1280th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies in March 2017. CAJ has regularly made Rule 9 communications to the Committee of Ministers on the ‘McKerr group of cases’. These submissions have charted the evolution of the ‘package of measures’ agreed to by the UK further to the above judgments, and their proposed replacement with measures agreed by the UK and Ireland, and political parties in the Northern Ireland Executive, under the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement.
2014 Stormont House Agreement
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. Our previous submissions of April and October 20161 provide detail as to the series of events which have led to a delay in the implementation of the SHA legacy provisions. In summary the legislation for the HIU was derailed further to the proposed insertion by the UK of a ministerial power to redact the contents of independent investigation reports by the HIU on undefined ‘national security’ grounds. In relation to inquests, whilst the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland produced a blueprint for their implementation through a Legacy Inquests Unit, the UK has withheld the necessary funding for the Unit.