The Finucane family welcomed the ruling in Belfast High Court today that the British Government remained in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in failing to order a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane. Speaking in Belfast after Mr. Justice Scoffield delivered his decision, Geraldine Finucane said:
“My family and I won a significant victory in 2019 before the UK Supreme Court who decided that the British Government were in breach of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to investigate the murder of my husband properly. The decision by Mr. Justice Scoffield in the High Court today is my family’s latest attempt to force the British Government to comply with their legal and human rights obligations.
“The judgment of Belfast High Court is a vindication of our criticisms of the British Government in failing to establish an independent public inquiry. Their continued refusal to do so is a breach of international law, domestic law and commitments given by previous governments. It is emblematic of the disdain for the rule of law shown by the former Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, that his decision to refer my husband’s case back to the PSNI and Police Ombudsman should be declared unlawful today and a breach of the European Convention. His refusal even to reconsider the position when the PSNI completed their review of the case in 2021 left the High Court in a position where Mr. Justice Scoffield had ‘no hesitation in concluding that the United Kingdom Government … remains in breach of article 2 [ECHR] on the basis of the ongoing delay… ‘
“The question that must be answered now is whether the British Government will address their continuing breach of the European Convention and establish a public inquiry into the murder of my husband. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the only mechanism capable of examining all aspects of this case properly is an independent public inquiry. I am very concerned that the refusal to do so is a deliberate policy of the British Government because they fear the implications that a public examination of their collusion machinery would have and the damage it would cause to their reputation internationally. What they fail to realise is that their reputation is already in tatters over the handling of my husband’s case and many other legacy issues.
“I have been forced to litigate this issue twice since 2019. I succeeded on both occasions. How many more times will I have to go to court before the UK Government honours its responsibilities and shows respect for the rule of law?
“A full, ECHR compliant public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane must be carried out without further delay. My family will continue to put pressure on the British Government until a public inquiry has been established and all outstanding obligations have been fulfilled.”