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Nelson justice campaign pushes alternatives

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Organizers of the Rosemary Nelson Campaign for Truth and Justice this week called on the United States congress to ensure that the investigation into the lawyer’s bombing death is open and under independent control.

Speaking in New York after attending a Washington hearing on the Royal Ulster Constabulary, campaign spokesman Robbie McVeigh called on U.S. congressmen to support the group’s two objectives: an independent, international investigation into Nelson’s death and an independent judiciary inquiry into her murder.

"Our understanding is that independent means that those involved have no vested interest in the outcome of the investigation. Clearly the RUC are not in that position," McVeigh said.

A spokesman for the RUC said that 50 officers are involved in the investigation, 10 of whom are drawn from six other police forces, including an FBI representative and an inspector from the Norfolk Constabulary in England.

RUC Chief constable Ronnie Flanagan has said that while he is open to a completely independent investigation, without RUC involvement, there would be little chance of finding those responsible for the bombing.

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"As it sits, it is very far from what we would consider an independent investigation," McVeigh said.

Campaign organizers hope to push quickly for an alternative model. UN special investigator Param Cumaraswamy’s examination of attorney Pat Finucane’s murder 10 years ago, and independent investigations into politically related deaths in Rwanda and South Africa, could provide alternatives, McVeigh said.

A respected human rights lawyer, Nelson was killed in March when a car bomb exploded under her vehicle near her home in Lurgan, Co. Armagh. A loyalist group called the Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the murder within hours.

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