Belfast firm launches action to access Libyan funds for victims of Gaddafi-IRA Semtex bombs

Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
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Belfast law firm KRW Law has launched a legal action on behalf of IRA victims in a bid to access £12bn of Libyan assets frozen in the UK.

The legal action aims to provide access to funds frozen by the UN after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011. At present the claims are against Libya, but it is possible they may be extended to include the Foreign Office for allegedly failing to obtain compensation for victims.

A report in the Guardian on Thursday said the claims have been lodged with the High Court in Belfast on behalf of two men.

The two cases involve Seamus Sullivan, who was injured in the 1988 bombing that targeted British Army foot patrols on the Falls Road, and George Brown, who was injured in the 1993 Shankill Road bombing.

Victims of other atrocities are to lodge claims next week, the paper reported, including those affected by the 1987 Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing and the so-called “Good Samaritan bomb” in Londonderry the following year.

Libya is being held liable for the attacks because they were carried out using Semtex that its then leader Muammar Gaddafi provided to the IRA.

In 2017 MPs on the NI Affairs Committee accused subsequent UK goverments of having failed to support the Semtex victims secure compensation from Libya.

The latest legal initiative comes from the Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law.

At present the claims are against Libya, but it is possible they may be extended to include the Foreign Office for allegedly failing to obtain compensation for victims.

Mr Winters said: “We will ask the High Court in Belfast to seek leave to serve the proceedings outside the jurisdiction after [submitting further] discovery applications against the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

London law firm McCue and Partners, whose lawyers played a key role in the Omagh bomb civil action, has been campaigning for Semtex victims for some years.