European Court demands Britain deal with the past and deliver to victims

European Court of Human Rights

Please see the key points as raised by the Committee of Ministers to the Council of Europe who are still scrutinising the UK for failing to address legacy investigations in the North of Ireland.

This is another important intervention into the debate given the Secretary of State’s comments today on dealing with the past.

The comments by the European Court’s Committee can be found here CoM to CoE December 2016


The Deputies

  1. concerning the individual measures, recalled that the completion of the outstanding investigations in the group is linked to the progress made under the general measures and underlined the urgent need to take those measures without further delay; recalled also the Committee’s decision of December 2015 in relation to the Finucane case to resume consideration of the reopening of individual measures once the domestic litigation has concluded;
  2. concerning the general measures, expressed their concern that the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and other legacy institutions agreed upon in December 2014 have still not been established because agreement on the legislation has not yet been reached;
  3. called upon the authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the HIU can be established and start its work without any further delay, particularly in light of the length of time that has already passed since these judgments became final, and the failure of previous initiatives to achieve effective, expeditious investigations;
  4. noted the authorities’ ongoing engagement and strongly encouraged them further to ensure that the proposed public consultation phase regarding the HIU legislation is launched and concluded within a clear timescale to ensure that the legislation can be presented to Parliament and the HIU established and made operational without any further delay;
  5. regretted that the necessary resources have not been provided to enable the Legacy Inquest Unit to be established and for effective legacy inquests to be concluded within a reasonable time; strongly urged the authorities to take, as a matter of urgency, all necessary measures to ensure both that the legacy inquest system can be properly reformed, resourced and staffed as proposed by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and that the Coroners’ Service receives the full co-operation of the relevant statutory agencies to enable effective investigations to be concluded;
  6. decided to review the progress made in these cases at their 1288thmeeting (June 2017) (DH) at the latest.


Relatives for Justice’s submission to the Strasbourg body of October 18th can be located on the CoM website at