Omagh lawyers: victims want Gaddafi’s cash, not taxpayers’

Omagh bomb civil action lawyer Jason McCue
Omagh bomb civil action lawyer Jason McCue

The lawyers behind the Omagh bomb civil action have noted that victims of Libya-IRA terror attacks are seeking compensation from frozen Gaddafi assets in Britain - and not the UK taxpayer.

In May a powerful Westminster committee urged the UK government to either secure compensation from Libya by the end of 2017 - or create a bridging loan for victims, recouping funds from Libya in due course.

Matthew Jury, expert in counter-terror litigation and campaigner for victims of terrorism, who also worked on the Omagh bomb civil action.

Matthew Jury, expert in counter-terror litigation and campaigner for victims of terrorism, who also worked on the Omagh bomb civil action.

However the government last week refused, claiming the issue is a private matter between victims and Libya.

But Lawyers Jason McCue and Matt Jury of McCue & Partners, who spearheaded the landmark Omagh bomb civil action, have now hit back on behalf of Libya-IRA victims, for whom they are campaigning.

Mr McCue said: “Our government seeks to blur the facts and duck the issues. These victims have a legal claim and a signed commitment from Libya to pay them [compensation].

“It is Gaddafi’s’ ill begotten gains and petrodollars that is ultimately sought to pay the victims what they’re due; not, as has been postured by some, UK taxpayers’ money.

“The [MPs’] inquiry recommended that the UK government make an interim payment - which it could then readily recoup from the Libyans - who have £9bn under the control of the UK Treasury.”

Mr McCue cited an example of one UK client who cannot afford to adapt their home to facilitate injuries inflicted by a Libyan semtex bomb.

“The government’s position is tantamount to standing at the side and watching a child drown without jumping in to save them,” he added.

His partner Mr Jury also rejected government claims that it could not lawfully tap the £9.5bn Gaddafi assets currently frozen in the UK, saying there have been significant legal precedents.

“The US did exactly that to ensure payment of reparations to its victims of terrorism, including from Libyan, Iranian and Cuban frozen funds,” he said. “However, if it so concerned that it might breach international law, why has the government never approached the UN to seek its explicit authority?”

The UK previously lobbied the UN to secure Libyan compensation regarding WPC Yvonne Fletcher and for Lockerbie bomb victims, he said. It also enters into government-to-government negotiations, he said, on behalf of British businesses all over the world in commercial disputes.

“The UK must send a clear message that, no matter how much time has passed, no matter the politics, it will fight for justice on behalf of British citizens... To fail to do so only emboldens those today who would target our country to murder and maim innocent civilians,” he added.

Lawyers Jason McCue and Matt Jury are pressing for compensation from Libya for over 150 named victims of Libya-IRA terrorism around the UK. It has been estimated that over 3000 people across the UK are victims of Libya-IRA terror attacks.

Libya has already given substantial compensation to American, French and German victims of international terror attacks it sponsored.