The Board pressed the Chief Constable of the so-called “reformed” Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to suspend all HET cases which have “investigated” – for want of a better word – deaths caused by British military personnel during the conflict.
The reason why this is so is that HM Inspectorate of Constabulary reviewed the HET and found that it was
acting unlawfully in regard to state cases because it treats them differently in policy terms and in the way that then acts out in practice… So state cases were less effective as a result and effectiveness is a key test of whether it’s Article 2 compliant.
None of this surprises the families who lost loved ones in the McGurk’s Bar Massacre of 4th December 1971 as we have waited patiently for the HET for over seven years to complete a review of the case. It will be their third report as the previous two were dire and unprofessional to say the least.
Here is what I said about the HET in 2008: McGurk’s Bomb Relative Gives Damning Verdict of Police Unit
Here is what I said in 2013: HET – How Little Has Changed
Here is what I said about them in my book as the HET had simply chosen to ignore the overarching policy of Internment which I had examined:
Historic reviews from this period do not attest to the presiding context and the over-arching internment policy at the time. It is proved that the British military and RUC were directed to discriminate in their use of the Special Power against the Catholic population alone. Loyalists were quite simply not to be interned until February 1973. Therefore, at the very least, we must reassess police investigations of all Loyalist killings until then with this policy as a backdrop. This alone has massive ramifications for those cold-case reviews that have already been carried out by the HET for the period. If they have not attested to the primacy of this policy over police actions or inactions, then they have not properly contextualized the failings they have found.
To put this into proper context, Loyalists were responsible for the
deaths of over 120 civilians until they were finally interned (and even then in very low numbers). During that time the British and Northern Ireland Governments, the British military and the RUC treated Loyalist violence differently, otherwise these paramilitaries ought to have been interned. This meant that any police investigation into these civilian murders is coloured and compromised immediately. Again, the perceived faith of the victim and/or perpetrator is what discriminates.
The HMIC has reviewed the HET’s handling of state murders. I believe its discrimination goes much further and involves many more. I personally have no faith in the HET as a fair and just mechanism for truth recovery… but then again, I never did. Dismantle it now and build a non-discriminatory organisation in its stead.