18 May 2006

U.S. CONGRESS VOTES FOR FULL FINUCANE INVESTIGATION

IAIS

05/18/06 12:25 EST

The US House of Representatives called on Britain today to start a full investigation of the 1989 murder of Belfast attorney Pat Finucane.

The House voted 390-5 for a resolution urging Britain to establish a full "independent public judicial" inquiry into the murder of Mr Finucane who was shot dead in his home in Belfast in front of his wife and three children.

Since the murder, it has emerged that British intelligence agents were involved in the planning and carrying out the shooting.

It also emerged that the man who supplied the weapon used in the shooting was a British Intelligence agent.

The case one of hundreds of cases in Northern Ireland where British Security forces have been accused of collusion in the murder of nationalists.

In 2001, the British and Irish governments jointly appointed Peter Cory, a retired justice of Canada's Supreme Court, to determine whether independent commissions should investigate possible state-sponsored collusion in six murders, including Mr Finucane's.

Judge Cory made his recommendation for an inquiry commission, but the British government instead said it would conduct a more limited probe of Mr Finucane's death including deciding on what information would be disclosed publically and what would be restricted "for state security purposes".

New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who sponsored the measure, said he hoped "our combined efforts here and in the Republic of Ireland will move the British government to finally live up to their agreement ... and help secure public and international confidence in the Northern Ireland peace process."

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