Independent International Truth Commission
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD writing in his twice weekly blog (http://leargas.blogspot.com/) for the Belfast Media group has repeated his call for the establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission.
Mr. Adams said:
“The legacy of the past is one of the big issues which remain to be resolved in the outworking of the peace process. This includes the truth about formal and informal collusion and the wider desire of many victims and families for an effective truth recovery process…”
Mr. Adams’ blog deals with the Cory inquiry, the establishment of the Smithwick Tribunal and the engagement of former IRA Volunteers with it.
Mr. Adams writes in his blog:
“The Sinn Féin leadership helped to facilitate this engagement because we sincerely believe there is a responsibility to assist families bereaved in the conflict if and when we can, though this may not be possible in all cases.
Republicans are very conscious of the hurt and suffering which has been caused through conflict in our country.
Sinn Féin believes that there needs to be an effective process for dealing with all legacy issues. Weston Park only dealt with six cases. But there are many more families who seek truth and closure.
Therefore, the British and Irish governments should invite a reputable and independent international body to establish an Independent International Truth Commission.
Sinn Féin has been consistent on this issue. Our proposition would be independent of any state, combatant groups, political parties, civil society and economic interests.
It should have a remit to inquire into the extent and pattern of past violations as well as their causes and consequences and would be dependent on the full co-operation of all the relevant parties.
Of course, such a process would not be easy. There are vested interests who do not want the truth and who will oppose the creation of a meaningful truth recovery process.
It will also be a difficult and painful process and experience, particularly for bereaved families. It must therefore be conducted in a sensitive and generous way. And there can be no hierarchy of victims. All victims must be treated on the basis of equality.
The closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that those who contributed to the conflict have to pledge ourselves to tell and to listen to the truth about the past. Over time this will contribute to genuine national reconciliation and an inclusive healing process.
For my part I would actively encourage republicans to co-operate with such a process.
Building a united harmonious society demands that these difficult issues are dealt with in an inclusive way as a necessary part of putting the past behind us. Looking after victims and victims’ families and survivors is a significant and important part of this.