Retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory testified before the U.S. Congress in Washington on Wednesday giving detailed evidence of collusion of British Crown forces in four murders in the North of Ireland.
Appearing before a hearing of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Judge Cory reiterated his view that there was evidence that warranted public inquiries into all four cases.
“The documents I reviewed indicated there is evidence to warrant the holding of public inquiries,” Cory testified.
The British government has agreed to establish public inquiries in three of the four murders in Northern Ireland, but has thus far refused to hold an inquiry into the murder of lawyer Patrick Finucane, who was shot dead by unionist paramilitaries acting under the direction of British agents and handlers.
Representative Chris Smith, said Judge Cory’s report in the Finucane case was “replete” with evidence of collusion relating to activities of the army intelligence unit and the RUC. He called the need for a public inquiry a “no-brainer” and refuted the British government’s new reasons for delay.
“Now, inexplicably, the British government says that no movement can be made on a Finucane inquiry until the completion of a case against Ken Barrett an accused triggerman in the case.” Smith said.
“Unfortunately, this prosecution, if ever completed, will not get to the larger compelling issue of state collusion and complicity. It begs the question of cover-up to suggest that the two investigations cannot coexist,” Smith added.
Cory agreed saying, “This is one of the rare instances where a public inquiry should take precedent over a prosecution.”
He compared the growing suspicion among both sides to a “cancer that will grow greater and greater until exploration is made and people can get on with living and living together as a country.”
In the Finucane murder, Cory stated that documentation showed the attorney to be a prime target of paramilitary forces for nearly a decade before his killing, but no steps were taken to warn him of the dangers he faced.
“In 1981, no action had been taken in connection with a known direct and imminent threat against Patrick Finucane. Rather, the protection of the agent’s security was seen as more important than saving the life of a person who faced a serious and imminent threat.”
Geraldine Finucane, the surviving spouse of Patrick Finucane also testified at the hearing.
Mrs. Finucane said “I will not stop until I achieve my goal of a public inquiry that will fully examine all the evidence surrounding the murder of my husband. The common good is better served through truth and accountability.”
Smith called Mrs. Finucane a “remarkable woman” and “an inspiration for justice, reconciliation and truth.”
He said he and other Members of Congress committed to human rights will work along side her, as long as it takes, until justice is done in this case and a public inquiry implemented.