Britain ‘colluded with serial killers’ during Troubles: BBC
‘Truly disturbing’ allegations that UK security forces colluded with paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland on a vast scale leading directly to the deaths of hundreds of people must be fully investigated, Amnesty International has said.
A BBC Panorama investigation last night probed allegations that Britain colluded with paramilitary killers and covered up their crimes.
Former Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan told the programme that some paramilitary informants recruited by the security forces during the Troubles were “serial killers”.
“They were running informants and they were using them. Their argument was that by so doing they were saving lives, but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people died because those people were not brought to justice and weren’t stopped in their tracks,” she said.
The murder of ‘Sunday World’ reporter Martin O’Hagan in 2001 was among the cases where state and paramilitary collusion is alleged to have been covered up.
But George Hamilton, Chief Constable of the PSNI, told the BBC he rejected the suggestion that officers colluded with Mr O’Hagan’s killers.
Mr Hamilton also said: “My understanding is that there were hundreds if not thousands of lives saved through the work of informants and police and, in those days, army working with those informants. I’m not saying that everything that was done was done to the standards of today.”
Amnesty said the Panorama investigation followed numerous other credible allegations of widespread collusion between members of the UK security forces and paramilitary groups in the North.
It is calling for an overarching mechanism for dealing with all alleged human rights abuses during the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Amnesty Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said: “The breadth and depth of collusion being alleged here is truly disturbing.
“There must now be a full, independent investigation ... Without full accountability for past actions, there can be no public confidence in today’s justice mechanisms.”