Tom Elliott MLA, Ulster Unionist Justice spokesperson and an Ulster Unionist Party delegate to the Haass talks, has warned that this is an opportunity for progress, but not at the expense of victims or the rule of law.
Mr Elliott said:
“This is an opportunity for society to move forward, but we will not do it at the cost of disrespecting innocent victims or disregarding the rule of law. This cannot be a process which expects further sacrifices from innocent victims or their families; there should not be an equivalence between perpetrators and victims, neither can it be used as a means to resurrect doomed ways of addressing the past, such as a peace centre at the Maze.
“We want to see an end to the current processes, because they put an almost exclusive focus on the state and the agents of the state, largely ignoring the fact that 90% of the killings during the Troubles were committed by terrorist organisations with 60% by republicans. The evidence base of how republicans have engaged in processes that offer the incentive of "limited" or "use" immunity, such as Saville, Smithwick and the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains, suggests we will spend an eternity finding out only what republicans want to tell us. There is no realistic prospect that Loyalists would be any more forthcoming. Innocent victims deserve better.
“Dealing with the past involves a very broad and complex set of issues. There wasn`t enough time to address these issues in the Ulster Unionist Party`s meeting with the Haass team on Saturday, but we will revisit them in the coming days.”