UN may force Govt to reveal its NI links

DETAILS of alleged collusion between the security forces and Loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland, claimed to be linked to the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane and others, could be demanded from the Government by the United Nations in the New Year.

The Government is expected to face detailed questions about its intelligence operations, including its infiltration of Loyalist groups by MI5 and the degree of its alleged involvement in Finucane's death.

British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), the human rights group sponsored by leading UK lawyers, is assisting the UN's Special Rapporteur on Judges and Lawyers.

The Special Rapporteur, Malaysian lawyer Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, is reporting in March to the UN Commission on Human Rights. Both the commission and the UN Committee Against Torture have attacked the UK Government's human rights record in Northern Ireland.

The UN has joined other bodies such as Amnesty International in pressing for a judicial inquiry into security forces' intimidation of defence lawyers and Finucane's murder in 1989.

BIRW will tell the UN of solicitor records detailing 401 separate instances of such abuse reported by 122 clients. BIRW says this is continuing despite the cease-fire.

BIRW will also call for publication of two official investigations by Northumbria Police Chief Constable John Stevens into Finucane's killing, believed to reveal the complicity of the security forces.

Under the emergency powers, individuals can still be detained for up to seven days without a court appearance, and denied access to a solicitor for 48 hours.