On the Judgment of the British Supreme Court on the Finucane Murder Investigations
Responding to the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom that previous reviews and investigations into the 1989 murder of human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane were deficient, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) issued the following statement:
“I rejoice with the Finucane family that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has vindicated them. It has recognized the gross and ongoing injustice the British government has committed in refusing to conduct a truly-independent public inquiry into this murder and state-sponsored intimidation of human rights attorneys. The judgment does not require the government to finally deliver justice, yet this decision is a major victory for a family whose husband and father was shot to death in front of them at their breakfast table, with the collusion of the British government.
“The British government has admitted to and apologized for this – yet it continues to protect those responsible for this outrage. I will introduce a Congressional resolution and lead a Congressional letter to Secretary Pompeo urging our government to put this issue on the diplomatic agenda with the United Kingdom. We are friends of the United Kingdom – but friends don’t let friends commit gross human rights abuses.”
Rep. Chris Smith is the author of four congressional resolutions calling on the British Government to conduct a full, independent, and public judicial inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane: H.Con.Res. 102 (105th Cong.), H.Res. 128 (106th Cong.), H.Res. 740 (109th Cong.), and H.Con.Res. 20 (110th Cong.). He has chaired 16 hearings on human rights in Northern Ireland. At Weston Park in 2001 the British government agreed, in respect of the question of whether to conduct a public inquiry into British government collusion in four murders in Northern Ireland, to implement the recommendation of a judge of international standing. After Judge Peter Cory, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, recommended a public inquiry into all four cases, the British government conducted the public inquiry into three of the four cases - it excepted that of Patrick Finucane. Rather the British government changed the law governing public inquiries, so that the government would retain effective control of materials available to the inquiry. Judge Cory wrote to Rep. Chris Smith in 2005 that the change in law “creates an intolerable Alice-in-Wonderland situation.”