US lawyers back Nelson and Finucane inquiries
A press release and statement from the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles ``Joe'' Hynes marks a significant step in the Rosemary Nelson Campaign in the United States.
Monday, 1 May was Law Day in the US. To mark that occasion, the district attorneys of nine counties in New York State, the deans of seven law schools in New York City - Brooklyn Law School, Columbia Law School, New York Law School, Fordham Law School, Touro Law School, Pace University Law School and CUNY Law School - and former member of the Patten Commission on Policing, Gerald Lynch, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, all joined together with the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to announce their support for independent inquiries into the killings of human rights lawyers Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.
In a joint statement issued at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the 17 top law enforcement officers and educators said:
``As prosecutors and law school and college deans, we join with the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to express our concern that more than eleven years after the murder of Patrick Finucane and over a year after the killing of Rosemary Nelson, the circumstances surrounding the assassinations of these two courageous human rights lawyers have still not been adequately investigated or made public by the British authorities.
``We endorse the call made by the families' lawyers for independent international inquiries into these killings.
``We further call for the police investigations into the murders to be conducted by teams of investigators completely independent of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and with all guarantees necessary to ensure the objectivity of the investigation and the confidence and co-operation of the public.''
Richard Harvey, U.S. spokesperson for the Rosemary Nelson Campaign, heralded the statement as ``a decisive demonstration that the British government is taking a completely wrong-headed approach to investigating the allegations of collusion by members of the crown forces in the killings of these human rights lawyers.
``When law enforcement professionals, a former member of the Patten Commission and academic experts in policing and criminal justice here in the United States join with the families to demand a completely independent approach, then it is time for the government to stop delaying the inevitable. It should announce its intention to hold independent, international judicial inquiries and independent investigations.
``And it should make that long overdue announcement now, before it undermines international and domestic credibility even further in its handling of these important cases.''