Victims chief urges support for legacy plan

Judith Thompson, Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. Photo: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
Judith Thompson, Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. Photo: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye

The Victims Commissioner has said that “undermining” government proposals on dealing with the past will not help those who have been waiting decades for even “a glimmer of truth, justice or acknowledgement”.

Judith Thompson was speaking after the final consultation event she organised took place in Belfast on Thursday.

A pension for the severely injured must urgently be inserted into the government bill, she said. Victims are also clear that there should be “no political involvement” in the proposed Oral History Archive (OHA) and Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG).

“If the main output of the HIU results in reports to families rather than prosecutions, then they [families] should be considered as a priority in designing its processes”.

Victims have raised concerns about verification of any information that might be provided as part of the processes, which runs “the very real risk of re-traumatising families with false information” she said.

On the issue of National Security and the potential for a lack of transparency, she proposed “independence and impartiality in final decisions based on a legal definition of national security”.

“Pointing fingers of blame will not help us to move forward. Seeking to design institutions to deal with the legacy of the troubles cannot be based on competing demands to focus on wrongs. We need to challenge perceptions about victimhood.”

She added: “There is no alternative on the table so undermining this process will not help those people who have been waiting 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years to access a process that might afford them even a glimmer of truth, justice or acknowledgement.”