New Zealand calls for Nelson inquiry
Over the past 14 months, Information on Ireland, the New Zealand Irish solidarity group, has been campaigning for an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of civil rights solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who died in March 1999 in a car bomb attack outside her home in Lurgan, County Armagh. The killing was preceded by threats against her by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Last year, Information on Ireland presented the facts of the case to Auckland lawyers sympathetic to Irish affairs. These facts were then put to the NZ Law Society which, in turn, raised the case with the British government.
This year, on the anniversary of Rosemary Nelson's death, the NZ Law Society again wrote to the British government expressing its concern and urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to ensure that his government meets its international obligations to carry out an independent and impartial inquiry into Nelson's death.
Law Society President Ian Haynes wrote: ``The NZ Law Society is concerned that, given the allegations that Rosemary Nelson had experienced threatening behaviour from the RUC and the speculation of collusion in her murder by RUC, involvement by RUC in an investigation... does not give the appearance of an independent and impartial investigation.
``The failure to protect Rosemary Nelson, despite complaints from her, an appeal by the United Nations, and the failure to be seen to initiate an impartial investigation into her death undermines the rule of law in Northern Ireland.
``I respectfully urge you to ensure that the UK government meets its international obligations to carry out an independent and impartial enquiry into Rosemary Nelson's death. Further, I urge you to ensure that there is an independent investigation into the allegations of RUC harassment and intimidation against Rosemary Nelson and other lawyers in Northern Ireland, and the failure of the RUC and the Northern Ireland office to protect Rosemary Nelson's life.''
The office of the British Prime Minister replied that the Law Society's views would be passed on to the Northern Ireland Office. Information on Ireland also passed copies of the correspondence on to the Irish Consulate in New Zealand to forward to Leinster House in Dublin as an indication of the worldwide concern over this matter.