A human rights body is warning that thousands of victims of terrorism in Northern Ireland will be denied any meaningful justice if proposed legacy arrangements are not fundamentally changed.
Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) is calling for a complete re-think in order to provide closure for as many victims and survivors as possible.
UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “These proposals, as they are currently constructed, are totally out of balance. They attempt to do the impossible by squaring a circle to placate people who are not victims and survivors, but perpetrators of terrorist actions.
“There is genuine concern amongst those innocent victims who have suffered, and still suffer, as a result of terrorist attacks which have caused so many needless deaths and life-changing injuries.
“This is an issue where you cannot equivocate or be indifferent. There may be a desire in some quarters to be neutral in order to assist the political process, but neutrality on this sensitive issue merely serves to re-traumatise victims.
“Victims of terrorism must not be dealt with in some sickening way to placate or meet a political demand or political agreement.
“Ulster Human Rights Watch is calling for what is right and equitable for victims of terrorism and survivors. The bomber or gunman, or those who assisted them in carrying out their brutal acts, can in no way be regarded as being in the same category as the people they murdered or maimed or those left bereaved.
“The Government must acknowledge the mistake it is making with these proposals and undertake a fundamental review before the process goes any further. An essential first step in this process must be a workable, legal and meaningful definition of a victim and survivor, and not one which at the moment seeks to turn justice on its head.
“Ulster Human Rights Watch acknowledges there may be limited prospects of delivering convictions for some past crimes, but that should not be compounded by insulting those who have done nothing to warrant such shoddy treatment.”

Article by Axel Schmidt-Published in the Belfast Newsletter 09/09/19