I would like the opportunity to clarify comments attributed to me at a recent meeting with victims of the Troubles, which suggested that I thought only one or two convictions might result from the work of the new Historic Investigations Unit.
The meeting was held to discuss life sentence prisoners who could benefit from early release arrangements resulting from the Good Friday Agreement.
In response to a question about the potential for changing the legislation in this area, I advised that this was outside the responsibility of the Department of Justice, and in any event may only affect a small number of prisoners.
This comment was not made in relation to the likely number of prosecutions resulting from work undertaken by the proposed Historical Investigations Unit, as was reported.
I am committed to ensuring the Historical Investigations Unit is adequately resourced to enable it to pursue investigations through to producing a report for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine whether or not to prosecute.
This is identical to what happens with current criminal investigations.
We owe it to victims to do all that we can to secure truth and justice wherever possible.
I believe the HIU will be better equipped to do that than previous or current arrangements, which makes it all the more important that we resolve the current political challenges and implement the Stormont House Agreement in full.
David Ford MLA, Minister of Justice