To add a note to my post about the Legacy Act and its Commission.
To avoid arid whataboutery, we’ll need to go highfalutin.
A crucial aim is to create an agreed ethical environment emerging out of history. Without it victims are unlikely to obtain much case by case satisfaction when physical evidence is so lacking. People – and the official record and records of all kinds – will need to start talking.
The two governments and all parties are in the present highly disputed environment.
We start with asymmetry. The State professed to uphold the rule of law, while the IRA declared themselves free of any obligation to uphold the law of an unjust state and sought to bring it down.
1998 introduced a pragmatic politcal as well as literal truce. Over the next few years Sinn Fein with IRA authority gradually recognised the rule of law and their responsibility to maintain it. But the issue of whether it was backdated was fudged.
The State must explain how they upheld the rule of law under the assault of revolution and admit breaches of the law with or without pleas of mitigation. A new principle of paying compensation to victims would be created.
Sinn Fein has consistently refused to speak for the IRA but they acknowledge their shared tradition with overlapping affiliation by many veterans. They are therefore obliged actively to encourage acknowledgment of breaches in the law pre- 98 or provide case or category justification for them as required by victims.
Negotiations would be necessary to create protocols for compliance agreed by all parties. The Chief Legacy Commisssioner l the former Lord Chief Justice Morgan is the ideal person to chair them. Initial statements and conclusions should be made in public.
A blanket amnesty would only be introduced by common consent.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London