Press Release by Non Government Agencies
16th APRIL 2003 --
"IN THE FINUCANE CASE, NOTHING SHORT OF A FULL, PUBLIC,
INTERNATIONAL, IMPARTIAL AND INDEPENDENT JUDICIAL INQUIRY WILL DO".
Tomorrow, Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police
Commissioner, will deliver his long-awaited report on his third investigation
into matters of collusion in Northern Ireland, known as "Stevens 3", to the
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
In view of this, Amnesty International, British Irish Rights
Watch, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Human Rights Watch and
the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights renew their call on the UK authorities to
establish forthwith a full, public, international, independent and impartial
judicial inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding the 1989 killing of
human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane.
According to credible media claims, the "Stevens 3" team had
originally prepared a 45-page summary of the full report for publication. The
full report, which runs to 3,000 pages, will not be made public.
However, it appears now that only a 15-page summary of the
full report is to be published tomorrow. The apparent explanation for this
two-thirds reduction in length is the need to prevent prejudicial material
capable of undermining future potential prosecutions from being made public.
Given that Sir John Stevens, one of the UK's most experienced police officers,
would presumably have signed off on the original 45-page summary, this
explanation beggars belief. The human rights organizations are concerned that
the original summary of the full report may have been drastically cut so as to
shield some of its contents from public scrutiny.
This concern underscores yet again the need for the kind of
scrutiny that only a public judicial inquiry can bring to the allegations of
collusion by state agents with Loyalist paramilitaries in Patrick Finucane's
killing. These allegations include claims that the killing of Patrick Finucane
was the result of state policy. The evidence of collusion and subsequent
cover-ups in the case implicates at least three intelligence agencies: the
Special Branch of the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, whose members have been
assimilated into the current Police Service of Northern Ireland; the British
Army's secret intelligence unit known as the Force Research Unit; and MI5, the
UK's secret service.
The recent death of Brian Nelson, the British Army agent who
had directly assisted Loyalist paramilitaries in the targeting of Patrick
Finucane for assassination, further underlines the need for the immediate
establishment of a public inquiry. Continuing to delay such an inquiry may well
result in other key testimonies eventually avoiding public scrutiny.
The five international and domestic human rights
non-governmental organizations believe that only a public, international,
independent and impartial judicial inquiry adequately resourced and with full
powers to subpoena witnesses and compel the disclosure of documents can reveal
the full truth surrounding the killing of Patrick Finucane. It will be essential
to consider all the circumstances surrounding the killing of Patrick Finucane,
including evidence of other killings resulting from the same policies and
practices which led to his death.