Northern Ireland Legacy Cases
Those who served in the NI Troubles will be aware that there is continuing pressure to investigate all incidents where the Security Forces were involved.
It has been difficult to define in simple terms the context around these NI legacy cases and RHQ know that this may be a cause of concern for many. Below is a note that provides generic context on the background.
NORTHERN IRELAND LEGACY CASES – REQUESTS FOR WITNESS ASSISTANCE
Since 2006, the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland have been reviewed, sometimes several times. This has resulted in, among other things, a decision by the Northern Ireland Attorney General to hold a number of new inquests. It should be noted that these inquests are not confined to deaths involving the Armed Forces, but encompass those involving the RUC and others.
Where they do involve or were witnessed by members of the Armed Forces, the Coroner is seeking assistance from those Servicemen and women who were serving in Northern Ireland at the time and who witnessed the events in order to hear their evidence. It is important to highlight that the purpose of an inquest is to establish the facts surrounding the death; it is not to apportion blame nor is it a trial.
The MOD has an obligation to support these inquests. As part of this, letters are being sent by the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Inquest Unit (DIU) to those who might have been witnesses and who it believes may be able to assist. If you receive a letter it will ask if you recall any details about an incident.
It is recognised that this took place a long time ago and that receiving a letter out of the blue may well cause concern. However, any assistance you may be able to offer would be invaluable in helping to establish what happened and, critically, in providing the Coroner with further information adding to that put forward by other parties involved in the inquest process. The letter provides contact details in case you have information or want more advice.
For those concerned by this or in receipt of a letter, support is available. The DIU is a specialist team set up to manage the Ministry of Defence’s engagement with Coroners and to support those serving personnel and veterans involved in the inquest process. The Army and the Regiment are also ready to provide any additional support that is required, hence this general email. You should feel free to ring RHQ for our help.
Of note, for confidentiality and data protection reasons, RHQs have not provided contact details of any Association members.