Britain ‘ignoring’ human rights judgements
Britain ‘ignoring’ human rights judgements

European court judgments on British Crown force killings and collusion with unionist paramilitaries have been ignored, human rights campaigners said yesterday.

Insufficient action on European Court of Human Rights rulings sets a bad example for other countries, British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) added.

The European court accused British authorities of violating the right to life of a number of IRA Volunteers and civilians shot dead by British forces and their death-squads during the conflict.

The British government denies inaction on the rulings.

BIRW director Jane Winter said: “If the British government says we are going to ignore the judgments, then we are going around the world telling other people how to run their countries and telling them they must be human rights compliant while setting an extremely bad example.

“The only way that the UK can be forced to enforce decisions by the court is if other countries insist [it does] and because they also have very bad records, some much worse than the UK, they are not going to put the pressure on.”

She said the 26 Counties was an exception and had raised the matter repeatedly.

The court accused the British authorities of violating the human rights of the victims.

The six killings in question are:

* the 1989 death of north Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, shot dead by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) at his home. The court said the investigation into his murder failed to examine effectively security force collusion allegations;

* the shooting dead of Pearse Jordan (23) in west Belfast in 1992 by police after he breached a security checkpoint;

* Gervaise McKerr (31), who died alongside two other IRA men in Co Armagh in 1982, unarmed when police shot them;

* Patrick Shanaghan (31) murdered by loyalist paramilitaries. His family also alleged the RUC colluded with those involved in the shooting;

* eight IRA men killed by the SAS at Loughgall, Co Armagh, in 1987, ambushed when they attempted to attack a police station. The court ruled they had their human rights violated after authorities failed to conduct proper investigations into the deaths. Those who died were: the east Tyrone IRA commander Patrick Kelly (32), Declan Arthurs (21), Seamus Donnelly (19), Michael Gormley (25), Eugene Kelly (25), James Lynagh (31), Patrick McKearney (32) and Gerard O’Callaghan (29);

* Dermot McShane (36), who died after an armoured British army vehicle drove into hoardings he was sheltering behind during disturbances in Derry in 1996.


Meanwhile, Raymond McCord’s 10-year battle to bring his son’s killers to justice appeared to take a step closer yesterday with two alleged Mount Vernon UVF members charged with murder.

For more than a decade the 54-year-old fought a lonely battle to expose the north Belfast-based death squad as being operated by the RUC police Special Branch.

In January last year Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan dropped a political bombshell when she confirmed that Mark Haddock was a “protected species”, despite being implicated in 16 murders, 10 attempted murders, 23 paramilitary-style shootings and beatings, drug-dealing, extortion, arson and intimidation.

It is thought that two north Belfast brothers who appeared in court yesterday may be about to give evidence against Haddock and other death-squad members in exchange for reduced charges.

Welcoming yesterday’s charges, Raymond McCord said: “I’m confident that more arrests will follow. I’m confident that the Protestant and Catholic families who suffered at the hands of this gang will finally get justice.”

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