Victims' commissioner urges rethink on Troubles investigations plan

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent

  • Published
Judith ThompsonImage source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Ms Thompson urged the Executive Office to fill her vacancy after it was decided not to re-appoint her

The victims' commissioner has urged the government to rethink its latest plan for dealing with Troubles murder cases, labelling it "completely wrong".

Judith Thompson was speaking as she prepared to leave her post next week.

The government wants to shut down most historical investigations with a new law, as a way of protecting former soldiers from future prosecutions.

Ms Thompson also said Westminster should help fund the Troubles pension.

Justice Minister Naomi Long has said the scheme for those severely physically injured or traumatised during 30 years of violence could cost up to £800m.

The Northern Ireland Executive wants the Treasury to provide some of the funding.

Ms Thompson said it was "reasonable for a sensible discussion" on who covers the six years of back-dated payments from 2014.

She added it was also "not fully logical" to expect Stormont to pay for those injured in attacks outside Northern Ireland.

'Any healing'

On legacy proposals, the commissioner questioned the government ditching the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, which included a new Troubles investigation unit.

Instead, London has proposed closing down all but a handful of cases.

"It is not something which I think brings about any healing. Nor can I see it complying with international law," Ms Thompson told the BBC.

She said her parting message to the government was: "Don't take a Westminster view of something that is so important for Northern Ireland."

Ms Thompson also urged the Executive Office to fill her vacancy after it was decided not to re-appoint her.