BRITAIN GUILTY OF BREACHING RIGHT TO LIFE
Michael Finucane, son of assassinated Belfast defence lawyer Pat
Finucane, has challenged the British government to "reclaim its
shattered reputation" after the European Court of Human Rights this
week found Britain in breach of the European Convention on Human
The court found Britain guilty of breaching Pat Finucane's right to
life and failing to investigate the 1989 killing.
Michael Finucane said the British government had been found wanting
because they had not properly protected his father's life nor
investigated his death. "It is easy to see why they did not want
investigate this murder," said Michael. "They were the instigators
facilitators of it.
"The only way the British government can hope to reclaim any part
its shattered reputation is by establishing a full, independent
judicial public inquiry without further delay," said the Dublin-based
Reiterating the call for a public inquiry by the Finucane family,
international human rights groups said that it was time for the British
government to "allow the truth to be told".
Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch and the Six
County-based Committee for the Administration of Justice in a joint
statement called for a public inquiry.
The Strasbourg-based Court found the handling of the case had breached
the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to the right to
life. The Court also found the lack of independence indicative of the
RUC probe into the Finucane killing 14 years ago represented a breach
of human rights. This lack of independence "raised serious doubts
the thoroughness or effectiveness with which the possibility of
collusion had been pursued", said the Court.
The judges also criticised the inadequacy of the inquest into the
killing for failing to include investigations of allegations of
collusion and for refusing to allow the victim's widow, Geraldine
Finucane, make a statement about death threats made to her husband.
"The inquest failed to address serious and legitimate concerns and
could not be regarded as having constituted an effective
investigation," said the judges.
Inquires conducted by London Metropolitan Chief John Stevens were also
dismissed by the presiding judges as too late, too secretive and
lacking the necessary rigour. The Court said it was unclear whether the
first two Stevens' probes had been even concerned with investigating
the Finucane killing.
And the third, "taking place some ten years after the event",
Court, "could not be regarded as having been carried out promptly
On collusion, the court said that no information had been given to
reassure the Finucane family and the public that the rule of law had
been respected. "There had been a failure to provide a prompt and
effective investigation into the allegations of collusion by security
personnel," said the Court.