Following the evidence session on Tuesday 21 November, with Alastair Burt MP, Minister for International Development, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chair expresses grave disappointment at the lack of detail and momentum in the Government’s plan for compensating victims of IRA attacks that used Semtex supplied by the Gaddafi-regime.
Chair of the Committee, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, said:
"The use of Gaddafi-supplied Semtex in IRA attacks led to catastrophic human suffering, and many victims are simply unable to move beyond the horrors of their experiences. My Committee is gravely disappointed in the UK Government's continued failure to secure compensation for these victims. We fear they are treading water while victims continue to suffer.
The UK Government must urgently commit to a timeline for providing compensation to victims, either through agreement with the Libyan authorities or through direct funding from the Treasury."
The Minister was unable to provide sufficient information to the Committee on a number of points raised in the evidence session. The Minister committed to provide the Committee with additional information on the following points:
1. To clarify the veracity of recent press statements which allege the UK Treasury has released interest or dividends accumulated from the frozen Libyan assets.
2. The "history and precedent" which underpins the policy, held by successive UK Governments, of not pursuing Government-to-Government negotiations with Libya on compensation for victims.
3. The form the frozen Libyan assets take (for instance, property or bank accounts), whether they are currently subject to any UK tax and whether transactional fees apply.
4. Before Christmas 2018, the Minister will provide a timeline setting out the Department's plan for securing compensation for victims. This will include details of interdepartmental meetings (Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Northern Ireland Office) on improving support for the victims via a communal fund or individual compensation and progress towards the appointment of a "Special Envoy", as discussed in the cross-party meeting with the Secretary of State.
The Minister will respond in writing to the Committee in due course.
Image: Parliamentary copyright