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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - United Kingdom

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 22 March 2006
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - United Kingdom, 22 March 2006, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status of the investigation into the murder of Mrs. Rosemary Nelson62

In November 2004, following lengthy proceedings aimed at obtaining the opening of a public inquiry into the assassination of Mrs. Rosemary Nelson, a panel was established, with "full powers to impel disclosure of documents and attendance of witnesses". Mrs. Nelson, a lawyer and a member of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), was murdered on 15 March 1999 in Lurgan, Northern Ireland.

On 19 April 2005, the chairman of the panel opened a preliminary inquiry into the death of Mrs. Nelson under the Inquiries Act, which was adopted by the British Parliament Royal Assent on 7 April 2005 and came into effect on 7 June 2005.63 The panel examined evidence and information supplied by the police at the end of 2005 and was expected to publish the conclusions of the preliminary inquiry in January 2007, after which time the public inquiry could begin.

Status of the investigation into the murder of Mr. Patrick Finucane64

In 2004, the British government had agreed to open a public inquiry into the murder of Mr. Patrick Finucane, a lawyer known for his views in favour of human rights who was murdered in Belfast in 1989, once the trial of the presumed perpetrators of the murder would be over. On 23 September 2004, after Mr. Kenneth Barrett, a former paramilitary loyalist, had been sentenced to a life prison term, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had announced that an inquiry would be opened only on the basis of a new law "that would have to be passed by Parliament" and not on the basis of the existing law.

In 2005, the family of Mr. Finucane announced that they would not collaborate in an inquiry based on such a law. No panel was appointed.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

62. See Annual Report 2004.

63. According to this text, public inquiries are overseen by the government, which appoints – and removes – each member of the panel. The government may also restrict public access to inquiry evidence and testimony, and may decide, "in the public interest", not to publish the inquiry's findings.

64. See Annual Report 2004.

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