UK government condemned for refusing Finucane inquiry again

UK government condemned for refusing Finucane inquiry again

Pat Finucane

The UK government has drawn condemnation after refusing to order a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, which campaigners say flies in the face of the rule of law.

The government yesterday outlined its response to the UK Supreme Court’s ruling in February 2019 that the state has failed to deliver an Article 2 compliant investigation into the death of Mr Finucane, who was shot and killed by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with UK security forces.

It said it would not establish a public inquiry and highlighted an ongoing “review process” within the PSNI and investigations by the Police Ombudsman.

In a short statement, the Law Society of Northern Ireland voiced “concern” over the UK government’s announcement in light of the UKSC’s ruling “that none of the previous investigations into the murder of our member Patrick Finucane met the required human rights standards”.

In a statement issued through Madden & Finucane Solicitors last night on behalf of the Finucane family, widow Geraldine Finucane said the government had “clearly set themselves against the rule of law”.

Mrs Finucane said: “The murder of Pat Finucane has been described as not just an attack on one lawyer but an attack on the rule of law itself. The Secretary of State has shown us today that the attack is continuing.

“They have clearly set themselves against the rule of law in ignoring the highest court of their own jurisdiction. They remain in breach of their international legal obligations, a shameful and inexcusable position for a sovereign government to take.

“They have again shown that they have no intention in admitting their role in the conflict here. Colluding with killers did not just result in my husband’s murder, but many others. The extent and depth of this political policy is what the British government fear being exposed. The outcome of our meeting today confirms that once again.

“We are grateful for the enormous support we have received. We will continue to campaign for a full public inquiry. The questions that demand answers around Pat’s murder are not going away and neither is our campaign for truth and justice.”

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said: “The government’s shameful refusal to open a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane does a terrible injustice to his family and will further undermine public confidence in the rule of law.

“Passing the buck to the police in Northern Ireland, when its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, was deeply implicated in the Finucane case, is beyond farce.

“This decision will add fuel to the fire of suspicion that there is and continues to be a sinister cover-up of the full extent of official involvement in this murder.

“Given the profound failures to investigate that were identified by the Cory Collusion Inquiry, the European Court of Human Rights and the UK Supreme Court, it is an utter disgrace that this government has joined the ranks of its predecessors in shirking their duty to the Finucane family and to justice.

“Mr Finucane’s family had to live through the horror of witnessing his death, a killing organised in partnership with the State, and they continue to suffer at the government’s hands in being denied the truth.”

Gemma McKeown, solicitor at the Belfast-based Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), said: “What is the UK government trying to hide? We know Pat Finucane was murdered in front of his family. We know there were ‘shocking levels’ of state collusion with the murder, because David Cameron apologised for it.

“What we don’t know are the details and how far up the chain of command the collusion went. We need to know which state agent, at what level, authorised the murder and who was complicit in the 30-year cover-up.

“A narrowly focused police investigation won’t find out, nor will an even more narrowly focused Police Ombudsman process. Only a full effective public inquiry, with wide-reaching terms of reference, and powers of compellability can discover the truth.

“When delivering this blow to the Finucane family, Brandon Lewis spoke of truth and reconciliation, but now more than ever those words ring hollow.”

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