Republican News · Thursday 11 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Human Rights Commission critical of Stevens

The Six-County Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has criticised the restricted remit of the Stevens inquiry into the killing of Belfast civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane and has added its name to the list of those calling for an independent judicial inquiry.

Professor Brice Dickson, head of the commission, announced the decision on Tuesday, 9 May. ``It is now fairly obvious that only an independent judicial inquiry can properly get to the bottom of the range of issues which this murder has thrown up.

``The inquiries being taken by John Stevens' team do not seem to be wide ranging enough to address those issues. The report by British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), which was handed to the government more than a year ago, has still not elicited the kind of detailed response which all concerned are entitled to expect,'' said the commissioner.

The announcement followed a recent meeting between the NIHRC and the Finucane family. The commission intends to write to Secretary of State Peter Mandelson in relation to BIRW report.

The NIHRC was established in March 1999 as the result of legislation enacted following the Good Friday Agreement. One of it's functions is to advise the British government on measures that require to be taken to enhance the protection of human rights in the Six Counties.

Speaking shortly after his appointment, Brice Dickson raised concerns about the restricted budget allocated to the commission which might curtail its ability to address the backlog of outstanding human rights violations.

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