Northern Ireland news

Operation Kenova 'an exemplar' of what an investigation should be - Human Rights Commission chief

Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission
Connla Young

A LEADING human rights expert has described Operation Kenova as "an exemplar" of what an investigation should be.

Alyson Kilpatrick, who was recently appointed chief commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, praised the investigation after carrying out a recent review.

Ms Kilpatrick had been asked to examine the compliance of Kenova with Article Two of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) - which protects the right to life.

The investigation was set up in 2016 to probe the activities of the agent known as Stakeknife and has since taken on other investigations along with a review into the notorious loyalist Glenanne Gang.

Plans revealed by the British government earlier this year to scrap Troubles prosecutions and end civil cases and inquests have brought the work of Kenova into sharp focus in recent weeks.

Headed by former Bedfordshire police chief Jon Boutcher, it is viewed by some as a potential model for how the past should be investigated.

Ms Kilpatrick, a former human rights adviser to the Policing Board, was given unrestricted access to the investigation team, families, victims groups and other stakeholders.

In a covering letter for the report Ms Kilpatrick said she was delighted "to be able to reassure you that from a human rights perspective, Kenova really is an exemplar of what such an investigation can and should be.

"It is the best I have seen in all of my experience," she said.

"That was not, I know, achieved by chance or without enormous effort."

The latest review comes after the Kenova Victims Focus Group (VFG) warned that an inability to access justice in legacy cases can "jeopardise reconciliation processes for generations".

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