Truth, Justice and National Security in Northern Ireland: Dealing with the Past from 'Below'

Date and time: 
Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 17:30
London, UK

Speaker: Professor Kieran McEvoy, Professor of Law and Transitional Justice, and Senior Fellow, Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, Queens University Belfast

This talk draws upon the ‘from below’ perspective which has emerged in transitional justice scholarship and practice over the last decade and its applicability to the ‘dealing with the past’ debate in Northern Ireland. It will focus in particular on the efforts of the author and other academics in partnership with a local human rights NGO (the Committee on the Administration of Justice) to draft and disseminate a ‘model bill’ on dealing with the past in parallel with political negotiations and plans by the British government to introduce legislation on the issue as outlined in the Queens Speech in May 2015. In November 2015 negotiations on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement and the introduction of the planned legislation broke down on the issue of redaction of information in the interests of national security. Efforts to overcome this political impasse are ongoing.

The talk will critically examine the broader theoretical and practical utility of the ‘from below’ style of research and advocacy in such politically sensitive matters. In particularly it will focus on the themes of technical capacity; organic legitimacy, designing ‘international savvy’ local solutions and the particular characteristics of legal epistemic communities in such fraught areas of policy.

For more information, visit the event webpage.