The Independent Monitoring Commission which has been set up by the Irish and British governments to adjudicate on paramilitary ceasefires and other peace process issues, met for the first time yesterday.
The four-member IMC is still in shadow form as it has not yet been formally constituted by the two governments. The four members held a preliminary meeting in Belfast to consider how they would operate in the future.
The members - Lord Alderdice, speaker of the suspended Assembly; Mr Joe Brosnan, former secretary general of the Department of Justice in the 26 Counties; Mr John Grieve, former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and Mr Dick Kerr, a former director general of the CIA - posed for a photocall yesterday, but took no questions from reporters.
The IMC will also adjudicate on whether the British government is carrying out any programme of demilitarisation that it might agree to. It can recommend sanctions, including the expulsion from government, of political parties -- understood to be Sinn Féin, on the basis of allegations of IRA activity.
Its British and Northern Irish members, Mr Grieve and Lord Alderdice, will also rule on whether politicians and executive ministers are honouring their pledges of office, should the Assembly and executive be restored.
Based on the terms under which the IMC was established, Mr Brosnan and Mr Kerr will have no function in matters solely relating to internal affairs of the Six Counties.
The IMC will consult with British and Irish politicians and with the military and police forces in Britain and Ireland . It may also open up a website to allow members of the public pass on allegations of paramilitary activity.