Kenova inquiry and justice for families

Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery has role

Sir, – Padraig Yeates of the Truth Recovery Process (Letters, February 19th) correctly states there has been a total failure in prosecution terms of the Kenova inquiry headed by Jon Boutcher. Six files, however, remain to be decided upon while Mr Boutcher’s high-level interim report has yet to be published. Unsuccessful attempts were made by Kenova to seek the prosecution of certain individuals (News, February 6th).

That failure was inevitable given the passage of time and the unusable intelligence documentation which appears to have formed most of the hugely extensive material submitted to the Public Prosecution Service.

It was a vain hope that it would be regarded as sufficient and admissible. In the event, Kenova and similar judge-ordered inquiries raise hopes unnecessarily, especially for the families of those murdered as alleged informants. The costs are enormous and little or no information is recovered or can be made available.

Padraig Yeates suggests another route which is just as unlikely to assist truth recovery let alone satisfy families. He seeks the repeal of the Legacy Act, leaving relatives to prosecute themselves. The notion that they could prosecute suffers from the fact that only the state can effectively do so, while successful court action is not what those who wish to see Britain in the dock, as opposed to the killers of their sons, really desire.


What is left then, despite the court challenges by legacy practitioners in Belfast and the Irish Government’s inter-state case at Strasbourg is the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) under Sir Declan Morgan. It can allow families the sight of all relevant documentation, subject to redaction for human rights reasons.

ICRIR takes over all reinvestigation on May 1st well before any judgment from Strasbourg which still has to go through the admissibility and friendly settlement stages before any hearings even start. Its task of reconciliation or, more accurately allowing a line to be drawn, will be assisted by both the effective amnesty involved and the end of lawfare. It is now legislative and operational reality and, if assisted, can produce what many want. – Yours, etc,