S420 to the Northern Ireland Policing Board Working Group on the PSNI, Historical Enquiries Team (HET)
CAJ welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Policing Board Working Group on the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team (HET) which is presently overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the recent HM Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) report into the HET.
This brief cover paper will outline CAJ’s general position in relation to the future of the HET, and in particular address issues relating to state involvement cases, including those of alleged collusion. Attached to this paper, as a substantive part of our submission to the Working Group, is a CAJ position paper recently submitted to the Haass talks setting out the case for a new single mechanism to deal with all unresolved conflict-related deaths, which we believe would remedy many of the gaps and identified deficiencies across existing mechanisms.
In summary, CAJ regards the HMIC inspection as having identified and verified many of the concerns about HET which have been articulated by CAJ and others for some time. This includes the unlawfulness of its approach to British Army killings (in relation to duties under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights -ECHR). Even if fully implemented CAJ do not regard the recommendations in the HMIC report, which in part reflect the area of focus of the inspection, as sufficient to make the HET fit for purpose to discharge its current remit. A CAJ Initial Response to the HMIC inspection paper, previously circulated to the Board and appendaged to this submission, further elaborates as to why we believe this to be the case.