One of the largest operations reviewing murders and serious crimes during Northern Ireland’s troubled past is to publish an interim report.
Operation Kenova is currently investigating and reviewing more than 200 murders as well as offences of kidnap and torture.
They include the activities of Stakeknife, the Army’s top agent within the IRA, the IRA’s murder of Tom Oliver in Co Louth and the notorious loyalist Glenanne Gang.
The announcement comes amid uncertainty over how Troubles crimes will be investigated in the future, following the announcement of plans by the UK Government for a statute of limitations which would end all prosecutions for Troubles incidents up to April 1998.
The proposals, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would also end all legacy inquests and civil actions related to the conflict.
Former Bedfordshire chief constable Jon Boutcher, who leads Kenova, said the interim report will address high level themes and issues concentrating on findings of the three key investigations.
The report will focus on what was, and was not, happening between organisations; the Provisional IRA and its Internal Security Unit, the police, armed forces, intelligence services and their agents and informants.
In particular, the report will focus on the organisation that committed the offences, state intervention or otherwise, and whether steps were, or were not, taken before serious criminal conduct was carried out or subsequent to it to prevent a full investigation.
Mr Boutcher has announced a public consultation, allowing 30 days for people to feed back on the plans before it closes on October 29.
“At the very outset of Kenova I made a promise to all the affected families that I would produce a public-facing report outlining our findings to give them the truth of what happened to their loved ones, including who was involved and in what capacity,” he said.
“After five years, and with more than 30 files with the Public Prosecution Service NI for consideration, we are now in a position to start preparing for the interim report’s release.
“The reports content will hold great importance to all of those who were involved.
“I’m keen to stress the protocol is a process map only. It says nothing about the contents or outcome of any report.
“I am acutely conscious that different stakeholders with different perspectives are concerned that our reports will say either too much, or too little.
“The aim of the protocol is to ensure that we do neither. I am committed to finding and reporting the truth openly and transparently and without fear or favour towards any party.
“I simply need to find a process which will allow me to do this fairly and lawfully.”
Kenova plans to have finalised the protocol by November 2021; with the interim report due to be released within 12 months of the protocol being agreed.
Submissions can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; and/or by post to Operation Kenova, c/o National Crime Agency PO Box 8000, London, SE11 5EN.