News Letter
8 May 2012

STORMONT will today debate a motion to stop terrorists being treated as victims in the same way as those they maimed or bereaved.

The Ulster Unionists have brought the matter to the Assembly in a bid to establish a clear definition of a victim that does not encompass those responsible for paramilitary crime. The UUP hope that if the motion is passed it will show a willingness in Stormont to address a matter which the party believes has been fudged.

Explaining the motion in today’s News Letter, the UUP’s justice spokesman Tom Elliott said: “Imagine your son being badly beaten by a gang of thugs, or your daughter attacked and finding out that the perpetrators of these heinous acts were entitled to receive compensation simply by claiming they too were emotionally affected by the event.”

The former UUP leader said that the current definition of a victim under the 2006 Victim & Survivors Order meant that “perpetrators of terrorist incidents can be categorised as victims and receive substantial help and support”.

The UUP support a proposed definition of a victim being considered by the European Union as someone who has suffered harm caused by acts or omissions in violation of the criminal law of an EU member state.

Mr Elliott said that real victims cannot move forward from their trauma if those who created the victims are “given the same opportunities — including funding streams — as they are”.