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Perpetrators can't be equated with victims

Published 16/05/2016

We commend Belfast Telegraph columnist Fionola Meredith (Comment, May 6) for her insightful analysis of an event which took place in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast involving the Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson and others.

Judith Thompson, when quizzed about the need for victim equality, said: "When you talk about good and bad victims, or deserving and undeserving victims, you end up in a degrading debate and that conversation belittles everyone." When pushed, she is reported to have said "some people are not at that stage yet".

That "some people" are the Innocent Victims United (IVU)-affiliated 11,500 innocent victims and survivors of republican and loyalist terrorism and other Troubles-related violence; former justice spokesman for the SDLP Alban Maginness; the leaderships of the main Churches; the leadership of the GAA; former CoI Archbishop Robin Eames; all unionist political parties; other individual nationalist political representatives; other victim and survivor groups not affiliated to IVU; many prominent academics; several respected newspaper columnists and broadcast pundits; the European Union (through its definition of victim) and, we submit, the majority of the Northern Ireland public, who understand in their hearts that "perpetrators" and "victims" are not one in the same.

The definition of "victim" (as laid out in the 2006 Order) has the outworking of equating perpetrators with their innocent victim(s). How can that be right?

Whatever grievance any given individual or community harboured, there was never any legitimacy to take another life.

KENNY DONALDSON

Innocent Victims United

Online Editors

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