Martin McGuinness: UK government must face independent inquiry if Northern Ireland is ever to achieve true peace

Sinn Fein politician backed a call for a UN-led international body to investigate post-conflict situations around the world

The British government must open itself up to an independent inquiry if Northern Ireland is ever to achieve true peace, its deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said today.

"Unfortunately, to date, the British state has refused to acknowledge its role as a participant in the conflict. I believe it is insulting to the victims and insulting to people's intelligence,” he said.

The Sinn Fein politician, speaking alongside Michael Mansfield QC, backed the barrister's call for a UN-led international truth and reconciliation body to investigate post-conflict situations around the world, based on the “uninfluenced” model of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which recently reported back on the death of 96 football fans 23 years ago.

Mr McGuinness said that while Northern Ireland's peace process has “become a beacon of hope for conflict resolutions across the globe”, “far more needs to be done to tackle sectarianism”.

An independent investigation was needed to achieve reconciliation, he said: “To achieve total recovery, the process must be victim centred, independent and inclusive of all the participants, including the two governments. The British government should accept it was central to the conflict and make a contribution to the process.”

Speaking to The Independent, he said: “The British government must agree that the best way forward in dealing with the process is to establish an international, independent tribunal of inquiry.

“It is obvious to most of us that one of the reasons that there has been no such development is the reticence of the British government.

“Whilst also recognising the very generous comments made by David Cameron in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday tribunal, things need to go a stage further to set up a tribunal inquiry for truth.”

Speaking earlier on Peace after terror: rules of reconciliation? at a meeting hosted by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute in Dublin, Mr McGuinness said: “The task of building national reconciliation is as much part of the peace process as anything that has gone before,” he said, adding: “The war is over, the armed conflict is over in Ireland but people north and south need to start building a country that is truly at peace with itself.”

Mr Mansfield, speaking at the same debate, called for the formation of a UN-led truth and reconciliation body, insisting that current mechanisms that focused on punitive justice were not enough. Instead it should be an organisation with international credibility, that was not influenced by states and focused on giving victims a voice by making the authorities accountable.

“It is not always about prosecuting, it is about searching for the truth of what has happened,” he said, adding: “The Hillsborough panel was an extremely good model. It worked efficiently, didn't leak, was uninfluenced and came up with a really hard hitting report.”

This afternoon a Northern Ireland Office said: “This is a complicated issue and there are no easy answers to the past.  It is clear that no consensus exists for any truth and reconciliation commission or similar process.

“We have to work with local people to find a way forward.  But the UK Government has shown that where the State has got things wrong we are prepared to face up to and account for what we’ve done, it’s the responsibility of everyone to face up to their part in the mistakes and tragedies of the past. ”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
booksNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015