The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has restated the Party’s opposition to the creation of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) as part of proposed legacy arrangements and dealing with the past.
Responding to recent comments by DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“My opposition to the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) has been dubbed as ‘bizarre’ by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. This is not a strange statement I suppose from one of the architects of the HIU. Sir Jeffrey went further to say that I would rather retain the present system of dealing with the past, which focuses disproportionately on the actions of the state.
“So let me be absolutely clear why I - and many others - oppose the HIU.
“The HIU has been designed to investigate only 1,700 fatalities. 30% of this caseload will be the reinvestigation of every killing by the military and many by the RUC. It will not investigate any of the tens of thousands of victims which were not fatalities – the vast majority at the hands of terrorists - including over 6,000 military personnel.
“The HIU will ignore families that have had a flawed Historical Enquiries Team (HET) desktop review apart from those which were conducted in respect to killings where the military was involved. These will – en masse - be part of the HIU caseload and reinvestigated.
“The HIU will allow former RUC officers to be interviewed under caution for ‘non-criminal misconduct’. It will create a second police force for Northern Ireland working in parallel to the PSNI and it will be able to compel the UK Government to supply all information for Investigation unredacted, whilst the Irish Government will be able to redact information prior to investigation.
“All I ask for is balance, proportionality, fairness and transparency.
“Again I call on the DUP and Sir Jeffrey to decide where they are going with this.
“If we need three-hundred investigators and £150million over five years for the HIU then why not resource the PSNI with the same? Let them continue their legacy work as a police force which all five main local parties have given their support to and have confidence in.
“You simply cannot support a Statute of Limitations (SoL) to protect veterans while at the same time promoting the HIU which will investigate veterans. If you do, then you are effectively calling for an amnesty and that is not acceptable, in the same way it would not be acceptable for the more than 700 casualties following the 7/7 terrorist attacks or the 52 families that lost a loved one then.
“This is not about one unionist party tearing strips off another for the sport of it. This is about two unionist parties who view legacy through different prisms.
“The Ulster Unionist Party will not support a HIU that will ignore the majority of terrorist victims or a Statute of Limitations - however well-intentioned - that will create an amnesty for those same terrorists and give them equivalence with those who stood between the terrorists and the terrorised.”