Newsroom
Statements
Hearings
Articles

Helsinki Commission Hearing Reviews Progress toward Accountability, Justice, and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

WASHINGTON—At its March 18 hearing on “Northern Ireland: Stormont, Collusion, and the Finucane Inquiry,” the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, reviewed ongoing efforts for accountability, justice, and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.  

Witness testimony focused on the provisions of the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement, especially those aspects addressing government collusion in paramilitary crimes, and the long-promised inquiry into the 1989 murder of human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane.

“For years, British officials denied collusion in crimes committed by paramilitaries,” said Helsinki Commission Chair Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04). “In recent years, evidence has mounted that its security services enabled or had advance knowledge of a substantial number of paramilitary murders. We hope to find out what the British government has done in response.”

“The many previous denials [by the British government] and the time that has passed in the Finucane case have drained public confidence in the peace process and diminished respect for the rule of law in Northern Ireland,” Chairman Smith continued. “There are those who oppose the peace process and their opposition is dangerous. The failure to address the case of Patrick Finucane in the manner promised by the British government provides a readily available propaganda tool for those who would abuse it to further their own ends.”

“Many people in Ireland lack confidence in the establishment and are slow to accept that things have really changed,” said Mrs. Geraldine Finucane, widow of Patrick Finucane. “One of the examples that is often pointed to as a reason for this mistrust of the establishment is the lack of an inquiry in Pat’s case, despite the truly shocking revelations of several major investigations … it is clear that the British Government is fighting against the prospect of full and public accountability for its actions.”

“It was quite a formidable political achievement to achieve consensus on the…Stormont House Agreement,” said Professor Kieran McEvoy, Queen’s University School of Law, Belfast. “If the political will exists from the different political actors, and that will is translated into robust legislation designed to maximize the effectiveness of the different mechanisms, the Stormont House Agreement does provide a roadmap to make significant progress in dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.”

“Most of the families we [at the Pat Finucane Center] represent realize that seeing anyone brought to court for the crimes…is beyond their reach,” said Anne Cadwallader, author of Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland.  “They are, however, full of steely determination that the truth should be told.  They hope that this will ensure that those responsible for taking similar decisions will never again collude in the deaths of the citizens they are meant to protect.”

Chairman Smith was joined at the hearing by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY-14), Rep. Bill Keating (MA-09), and Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-13).

View the full hearing online.


RECENT NEWS

Unequivocal Support for Israel

March 2, 2015
more

Statement on Tragic Synagogue Slayings

November 20, 2014
more

Statement by Commissioner Representative Mike McIntyre at the OSCE PA Fall Meeting

October 5, 2014
more

Crackdown on Civil Society Threatens Democracy

September 10, 2014
more

Chairman Cardin floor statement on 2014 OSCE PA Annual Session

July 9, 2014
more

15th Anniversary of the Bytyqi Brother Murders in Serbia

July 8, 2014
more

Ukraine Elections-Legitimate and Heroic

May 8, 2014
more

Senator Cardin's floor statement on deteriorating situation in Ukraine

May 2, 2014
more

Senator Cardin's floor statement on Ukraine

March 27, 2014
more

Rep. Smith's support of the Ukraine Support Act

March 27, 2014
more

Senate floor statement on Ukraine

March 7, 2014
more

Ukraine

February 28, 2014
more

Statement on H. Res. 447

February 11, 2014
more

Supporting the Democratic Aspirations of the People of Ukraine

February 3, 2014
more

Human Rights in Hungary

December 16, 2013
more

The 80th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine

November 19, 2013
more

75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

November 12, 2013
more

Remembering Nicolae Gheorghe

September 11, 2013
more

Political Imprisonment in Ukraine

April 9, 2013
more

Hungary

July 13, 2012
more

International Human Rights Day

December 9, 2011
more

Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising

September 9, 2011
more

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

August 2, 2011
more

Click here for more Statements

Northern Ireland: Stormont, Collusion, and the Finucane Inquiry

March 18, 2015
2175 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Serbia’s Leadership of the OSCE

February 25, 2015
2200 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Combating Corruption in the OSCE Region: The Link between Security and Good Governance

November 19, 2014
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 203/202
more

Ukraine’s Pivotal Parliamentary Poll

November 14, 2014
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 608
more

Anti-Semitism, Racism and Discrimination in the OSCE Region

July 22, 2014
SD-562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

Political Pluralism in the OSCE Mediterranean Partners?

July 16, 2014
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 203/202
more

The Security, Economic and Human Rights Dimensions of US-Azerbaijan Relations

June 11, 2014
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 432
more

Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014: Is Moldova Next?

May 6, 2014
Capitol Visitor Center, Room 268
more

Ukraine: Confronting Internal Challenges and External

April 9, 2014
Room 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

The Dog Barks, But the Caravan Moves on: Highs and Lows in U.S.-Russia Relations

March 27, 2014
Room 2103 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Developments in the Western Balkans and Policy Responses

March 5, 2014
Room 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

Switzerland’s Leadership of the OSCE

February 25, 2014
Room 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

Disappeared in Turkmenistan’s Prisons: Are They Still Alive?

February 20, 2014
Room 122 Cannon House Office Building
more

Resolving Crises in East Asia through a New System of Collective Security: the Helsinki Process as a Model

December 11, 2013
SD-106
more

Europeans of African Descent 'Black Europeans': Race, Rights, and Politics

November 19, 2013
SDG-50
more

OSCE Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking: Outlook and Opportunities

September 17, 2013
SD-106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

Fleeing to Live: Syrian Refugees in the OSCE Region

June 13, 2013
562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
more

Ukraine’s Leadership of the OSCE

May 8, 2013
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562
more

Democracy in Albania: the Pace of Progress

May 6, 2013
Capitol Visitors' Center, Senate Room 210-212
more

The Trajectory of Democracy – Why Hungary Matters

March 19, 2013
Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 210
more

The State-Sanctioned Marginalization of Christians in Western Europe

December 10, 2012
Room B318 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Assessing Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections

November 20, 2012
Room B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Online Safety Under Repressive Regimes: What is the Responsibility of Technology Companies?

October 19, 2012
2203 Rayburn
more

Listening to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

October 4, 2012
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Georgia’s Parliamentary Election: How Free and Fair Has the Campaign Been, and How Should the U.S. Government Respond?

September 20, 2012
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
more

“Escalating Violence Against Coptic Women and Girls: Will the New Egypt Be More Dangerous Than the Old?”

July 18, 2012
210 Cannon H.O.B
more

Justice in the International Extradition System, The Case of George Wright and Beyond

July 11, 2012
2203 Rayburn HOB
more

Ukraine’s Upcoming Elections: A Pivotal Moment

May 17, 2012
1310 Longworth
more

Political Prisoners in Central Asia

May 15, 2012
Rayburn 2203
more

Prerequisites for Progress in Northern Ireland

March 21, 2012
Rm. 2247 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Healing the Wounds of Conflict and Disaster: Clarifying the Fate of Missing Persons in the OSCE Area

February 28, 2012
Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Dispatches from Moscow: Luke Harding’s chilling tale of KGB harassment

February 22, 2012
210 Cannon House Office Building
more

The Escalation of Violence against Roma in Europe

February 15, 2012
B-328 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Irish Chairmanship of the OSCE

February 8, 2012
B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Conflicts in the Caucasus: Prospects for Resolution

December 7, 2011
B-318 Rayburn
more

Combating Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region: Taking Stock of the Situation Today

December 2, 2011
2172 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Belarus: The Ongoing Crackdown and Forces for Change

November 15, 2011
210 Cannon House Office Building
more

From Arab Spring to Coptic Winter: Sectarian Violence and the Struggle for Democratic Transition in Egypt

November 15, 2011
210 Cannon House Office Building
more

Elections and Political Transition in Tunisia

October 13, 2011
B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
more

Mongolia Moves Toward Europe

October 12, 2011
210 Cannon House Office Building
more

Russia’s Upcoming Elections and the Struggle for Public and Competitive Politics

September 22, 2011
210 Cannon House Office Building
more

Click here for more Hearings

Featured

 











   
 

Recent Articles

December 2014

November 2014

February 2014

January 2014

October 2013

May 2013

April 2013

November 2012

Click here for the previous year's Articles


In The News

« » Oct 2012
S M T W T F S
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3

Click a date to update list
Label for Featured Photo
Featured Photo
Chairman Chris Smith meets with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)