U.K. Supreme Court Ruling in Finucane Case a Breakthrough Moment

New York City Human Rights First today praised today’s ruling by the United Kingdom Supreme Court that the investigations into the 1989 murder of Northern Ireland solicitor Pat Finucane have not been effective as a huge step on a long road to justiceFinucane, who represented a number of high-profile republicans, was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries in front of his family at their Belfast home in February 1989. For three decades, Human Rights First has supported his family’s call for a full independent public inquiry into his murder.

“Today’s ruling is one of the breakthrough moments any campaign for justice needs,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The ruling is nowhere near a final victory for Pat’s family and supporters, but it makes one much more likely.”

Finucane was a 39-year-old human rights lawyer who represented a number of high-profile republicans. The U.K. government ordered a series of investigations into his killing over many years, all failing to reveal the full truth of who was behind the murder. Today’s ruling is a vindication of the Finucane family’s long struggle, confirming that investigations until now have been inadequate.

“The tenacity of the Finucane family and their supporters is an example to activists all over the world,” said Dooley. “Human rights victories rarely happen quickly or easily, but they can be won with dedication and determination.”

Human Rights First has a long history of research and advocacy on this issue. Formerly the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, the organization published a series of reports on the murders of Finucane and fellow Northern Ireland lawyer Rosemary Nelson, including 1989’s Beyond Collusion and 2017’s A Troubling Turn.



Published on February 27, 2019


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