Minister Shatter publishes the Final Report of Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
The Minister for Justice and Equality Mr Alan Shatter TD has published the final ‘lessons learned’ report of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) which was delivered to the Irish and British Governments at the end of March.
The IICD was dissolved on 31 March 2011. Prior to its dissolution the Governments requested that the IICD submit a final ‘lessons learned’ report setting out its experience of the decommissioning process and lessons which may be of value for the future. They were also requested to offer any views they might have on how decommissioning might be approached in the future should remaining paramilitary organisations prove at some stage willing to decommission.
In publishing the report the Minister said: "Decommissioning of paramilitary arms was probably the most contentious issue which had to be addressed during the whole peace process. We owe a great debt of gratitude to General John de Chastelain and his fellow Commissioners, Brigadier Tauno Nieminen and Mr Andrew Sens, together with their staff, for their patience, integrity and skill in bringing the process to a successful conclusion. They achieved what many people believed would never happen. History will record that their work was central to bringing peace to this island."
The IICD has decided that the record of the arms which it decommissioned should not be provided to the two Governments at this time. It made this decision in light of its assessment of the likely impact of publishing this record at a time when decommissioning is still incomplete and there are armed and active paramilitary groups who still possess a variety of arms. Accordingly they have arranged for the secure custody of the record with the US State Department. It can, however, be released whenever the two Governments consider it appropriate to do so. Commenting on this decision by the Commission the Minister said: "I know that a lot of attention will be focused on whether the Commission’s report contains details of the quantity of arms decommissioned by the various paramilitary groups. For good and sound reasons the IICD has decided that the time is not yet right for that. I support their reasoning in that regard. I want to emphasise the point that withholding the details at this time does not detract one iota from the fact that the Commission report states its belief that decommissioning was as complete as it could be. That is the bottom line with regard to those groups who did engage in decommissioning."
Referring to the fact that certain groups refused to engage with the Commission the Minister added: "There are, regrettably, still groups out there who refuse to recognise that the will of the people of this island is that the gun and bomb have no place in political dialogue. I hope eventually that these groups will see sense and put their arms beyond use. But in the meantime we will continue to take all necessary steps to counteract the threat which they pose."
The report is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website – www.justice.ie
4th July 2011