[Sinn Fein]

28th May 2002

McLaughlin welcomes latest European Court Censure of Britain

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA, Mitchel Mc Laughlin has welcomed the decision by the European Court of Human Rights to censure of the British government in a case brought by the widow of Derryman Dermott Mc Shane.

Mr Mc Laughlin said: I welcome this decision. It is a vindication of the belief of Mrs Mc Shane and the people of Derry that the British government had violated the right to life of Dermot McShane who was callously killed by a British Army driver in Little James Street in July 1996. Eyewitness accounts point to the driver deliberating driving his vehicle at Dermott as he took cover from plastic bullets behind a piece of hoarding.

This decision of the European Court is just the latest in a litany of findings against the British government surrounding civilian deaths caused by British Forces in the 6Counties. The conclusion of the court cites six specific areas where the British government is guilty. These are a lack of independence in the investigation, failure to carry out a police investigation expeditiously, failure to require the soldier to attend the inquest as a witness, failure of the inquest procedure to allow any verdict or findings and the non-disclosure of witness statements and other documents. These indictments reflect the pattern followed by the British government in all disputed killings by the British Army and RUC and will have implications for the inquest system here in the North. As a first step the British government should immediately announce what steps it intends to take to ensure that a proper and independent investigation would now be carried out into the death of Dermot McShane. It must also instigate a complete overhaul of the inquest system so that all of those families denied a proper investigation into the deaths of their loved ones can now have full and open inquests held.

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