Head of investigations calls for the patience of victims five years after the unveiling of Operation Kenova
The head of a unit leading historic investigations into murders committed during the Troubles called for the “patience” of those awaiting prosecution on the fifth anniversary of the group’s founding.
Jon Boutcher, a former police chief in charge of Operation Kenova, which is investigating more than 200 killings in the north, described the work of the unit initially set up to determine whether the RUC has not investigated up to 18 murders in a bid to protect the British agent codenamed Stakeknife who had infiltrated the IRA.
Kenova has since been tasked with investigating other Unrest cases, including more than 120 murders attributed to loyalist Glennane Gang in Armagh and in Tyrone’s infamous “murder triangle”.
To date, Kenova has provided NI’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with more than 50,000 pages of evidence on 17 murders and 12 kidnapping cases. Members of the Kenova team also interviewed more than 300 people.
Mr Boutcher, the former Police Chief of Bedfordshire Police, said the DPP was reviewing 31 files submitted for review with more to be sent before the end of the year.
He also spoke out against the UK government’s recent ‘command document’ on ending all Troubles-Era prosecutions and investigations, which critics say would offer de facto amnesty to paramilitary and military killers. of security.
“At the heart of all of Kenova’s activities are the victims, survivors and families who have been affected by these terrible crimes,” said Boutcher.
“Despite the many setbacks, delays and broken promises of the past experienced by so many families, their strength, determination and dignity to relentlessly pursue the truth, no matter what obstacles are placed in their path, is truly inspiring. The humility and grace shown by families in seeking to remedy the injustice they have faced is a lesson for all of us. “
An interim report is to be released by Operation Kenova over the next 12 months as part of a larger protocol that will define the future release of public reports.
Mr Boutcher continued, “Some people have commented that Kenova has yet to lead to prosecution. The number of cases presented to the NI DPP demonstrates what can be convincingly achieved. We must be patient and wait for its decisions. . It is important for everyone to recognize that prosecutions will be rare. The most recent timeline for prosecution decisions advised by the NI DPP regarding the Kenova cases is spring 2022. “