Jim Allister has become the first party leader to officially back “A Covenant for and with innocent victims and survivors of terrorism”.
Commenting Mr Allister said:
“The covenant was presented by Innocent Victims United to the Haass team some weeks ago. I believe that all public representatives should study its contents carefully, especially given the comments of some in relation to immunity.
“As the Covenant observes: “Murder is a crime and must be dealt with accordingly.” There should be no suggestion that terrorist murder is somehow different from “ordinary” murder.“The contents of the Covenant when it comes to a truth commission are worth noting: “There cannot be any diminishing of the evidential requirements under our Criminal Justice system. Terrorists and their apologists have consistently proven their inability to tell the Truth”.
“Its remarks on the role of the Republic of Ireland are also very pertinent in light of the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal.
“And of course ever present demand of innocent victims to address the perverse definition of victim is an issue which needs urgent attention.
“In the past year innocent victims have had an extremely positive impact on the political process, forcing the establishment to face up to their concerns when it came to terror SpAds in Stormont and a terror shrine at the Maze. Those who do not take on board their concerns when it comes to the Haass talks may well find that the public turns against them as well”.
Note to editors
The full text of the Covenant reads as follows:
‘Dealing with the Past’ is terrorist centric language, we ask Government and wider Society to ‘Deal with our Present’
Innocent Victims and Survivors of Terrorism have been used as ‘collateral damage’ for too long and this dreadful wrong must now cease.
What more can we be expected to tolerate in the overall quest to hold together morally defunct Peace and Political processes?
It is widely believed that the Haass Talks process has been principally focussed upon the perceived problems of Belfast-based communities. The process has been lacking genuine engagement with rural communities (particularly those based in our borderlands who suffered the brunt of the terrorist campaign)
We will not be moved from the following positions and we expect those in elected office to back our standpoint. Victim’s issues which are wrapped up in Government speak ‘Dealing with the Past’ should not be part of any ‘trade off’ scenario. Any deviation from our position will bring its’ own consequences.
(i) Revision of the definition of ‘Victim’
New legislation is required in order that victim makers are no longer equated with innocent victims. The word ‘Victim’ must be reclaimed for the innocent.
(ii) No Amnesty for terrorists or expunging of records
There cannot and must not be any attempt to bring in a ‘political Amnesty’ nor should terrorist records be wiped. Murder is a crime and must be dealt with accordingly.
(iii) A Truth Commission is unworkable
There cannot be any diminishing of the evidential requirements under our Criminal Justice system. Terrorists and their apologists have consistently proven their inability to tell the Truth.
(iv) Mechanisms which facilitate genuine criminal investigations into unsolved terrorist murders and attempted murders.
The current arrangements are UK State Centric. Terrorism must come under the spotlight and innocent victims/survivors afforded equality of treatment in their pursuance of Truth and Justice.
(v) Unapologetic Victim-makers
Those who carried out campaigns of terrorism must acknowledge that this was wrong, both legally and morally, and that violence will never be used by them again in pursuit of their political objectives.
(vi) Acknowledgment by the R.O.I State
The government of the Republic of Ireland should take steps to acknowledge its role in enabling the IRA campaign of violence through inept security and extradition policies.
(vii) Glorification of Terrorism
A review of the legislation is required to ensure terrorism cannot be glorified anywhere in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.
(viii) An Independent Task Force to examine the Resourcing of the Innocent Victims/Survivors constituency
The setting up of an Independent task force which would examine capacity issues within the innocent victims/survivors of terrorism support network (Of which 91 – 92% of Troubles related deaths relate)
(ix) Commission of Historical Clarification
Development of a process which examines ‘Troubles’ related events critically and which distinguishes between events proven on an evidential basis and those relying upon intelligence, rumour and supposition reasoning.