Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Yet again, scant regard for the needs of victims

AS talks intensify, Dr Richard Haass and his team must stand by the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism.

As well as being the direct casualties of violence, this constituency of people have been the casualty of the peace process.

They continue to be the casualties of an immoral political process, which has elevated terrorists/perpetrators whereby they now hold equivalence with those whom they wronged.

Dealing with the past (or, more accurately, dealing with victims' present) is not solely a political problem; it is a societal problem.

Victims must finally be treated with respect and dignity – the same respect and dignity that they have shown over so many years.

What has been doing the rounds in recent times is this notion that a victim could opt to pursue a truth recovery, or justice pathway.

What concerns Innocent Victims United is that the HET process has not offered a credible criminal investigation into unsolved murders.

So, what can truth recovery deliver for innocent victims and survivors of terrorism that even the HET (for all its flaws) isn't already offering? Immunity from prosecution has not worked. Not with decommissioning (the guns and bombs are still turning up in the hands of a rebranded IRA), nor with the Disappeared, where many families remain robbed of the right to give their loved one a Christian burial.

KENNY DONALDSON

Innocent Victims United

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