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Victims of Libyan-backed IRA issue their own report

Case for compensation outlined as official findings remain secret


Devastation: The aftermath of the Docklands bomb in 1996

Devastation: The aftermath of the Docklands bomb in 1996

Devastation: The aftermath of the Docklands bomb in 1996

Victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA attacks have compiled a dossier on the case for compensation after the Government refused to publish its own report into the issue.

Those injured and bereaved by weapons supplied by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi expressed outrage last month when the Foreign Office said the report it commissioned would remain confidential.

The late Colonel Gaddafi armed the IRA with the powerful Semtex plastic explosive used in multiple Troubles bombings, such as those targeting Harrods in 1983, the Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen in 1987, Warrington in 1993 and London's Docklands in 1996.

In response to the Government withholding the report authored by former Charity Commission chair William Shawcross, one victims' group - the Docklands Victims Association (DVA) - has published a document outlining findings and recommendations based on its 15-year campaign for compensation.

It has sent copies to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill.

During its campaign, the group has met with Libyan officials, including the Libyan Ambassador to the UK Mahmud Mohammed Nacua, and a range of ministers and officials from the UK Government and Stormont.

In 2008, DVA president Jonathan Ganesh pressed the case for compensation in a meeting with then-prime minister Gordon Brown.

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Mr Ganesh, who was badly injured in the Docklands bombing, also met with Mr Shawcross during his investigations in 2020.

He said victims were "immensely concerned" that the Shawcross report had been classified.

Mr Ganesh branded the Government's approach to the compensation campaign "absurd and disingenuous".

He said: "We have now, due to the absence of the promised Shawcross report, been forced to issue our own report based on the DVA work over the past many years to secure compensation.

"The victims and their families who attempted to do the impossible have more compassion, courage and humanity than our own Government.

"It very sad that our Government to do not appear have these qualities."

Victims want the current Libyan authorities to pay compensation, but, given the unlikelihood of that happening in the short term, they have urged the Government to instead use the billions of pounds of assets linked to the toppled Gaddafi regime which were frozen in the UK in 2011 under UN sanctions.

The Government has ruled out using the £12bn of frozen Libyan assets, or the tax take generated by them, to compensate victims.

It has also refused to fund a scheme using other public finances while it continues to press the authorities in the north African country to pay out.

The Foreign Office has insisted the responsibility for paying victims of Libyan arms rests with the Libyan state.

The Government has highlighted that, under international law, it is unable to access the frozen assets.

However, victims insist the Government could use the £5m of tax derived from the assets every year.

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