Statement by FBGA December 2007.
Re: Truth and Reconciliation Commission proposed by
Lord Clyde, Professor Marshall and Bronwen Cohen in The Herald
Ref: Truth and
Reconciliation Commission being proposed
10th December 2007
Further to a newspaper article appearing in The Herald,
society on the 5th December 2007 quoting Professor Marshall, Bronwen
Cohen and Lord Clyde with regards the proposed formation and possible setting
up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Scotland concerning
institutional historical abuse.
FBGA's Aims have been to call for a Full Judicial Independent
Inquiry into Quarriers Homes past abuse issues
FBGA position as a group is that while there may be some
merits in what is being mooted with regards a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, we have serious concerns and reservations that such a process could
interfere with the following rights and legal obligations that individuals and
organisations have including victim survivors in our view.
right to a fair trial and hearing (European Legislation, Human Rights,
section 6) by those alleging abuse and those being accused. The process of
Truth and Reconciliation would circumvent the current legal judicial court
it will interfere with individual rights to seek legal redress in
whichever shape or form that takes. It is up to each individual who has
had their cases prosecuted within a Court of Law and those seeking redress
who have been denied the right due to Timebar to determine fully what is
right or acceptable to them.
issue of Timebar has been set aside by their governments in other
countries such as Ireland and Australia despite the views of any law
commission to the benefit of the
survivors while acknowledging the enormous damage inflicted on those who
have been abused including reparation and full unreserved apologies to
will interfere with the rights of organisations to be able to defend
against such allegations.
has the potential to permit or allow within such a process an individual
to create false allegations and embellishing of abuse if the process does
not have judicial oversight and proper powers of investigation.
has the potential to allow or permit organisations and individuals not to
be fully transparent and open with all documentation and the facts if
there is no proper oversight or investigational judicial powers given to
State and the organisations should recognise fully when cases have been
prosecuted successfully and individuals convicted in the Courts of abusing
children in-care including where Appeals have been unsuccessful or not
launched by those convicted. We believe at this point that the organisations
and their agents should resolve and redress the issues to the benefit of those abused without inflicting further
trauma or damage on the victim/survivors this includes State bodies also.
disclosure of evidential evidence from the trials and court convictions
should be used to learn lessons as risk based insurers are often involved.
Court process and convictions should act as a catalyst for change and the
introduction of full scale Independent Judicial Inquiries into
organisations such as Quarriers which currently has the most ex-employees
ever convicted of abusing sexually and physically children within the care
system in Scotland and the UK (currently 9 ex-employees convicted).
Truth and Reconciliation processes the accused sometimes demand and
sometimes get anonymity and amnesty from prosecution before they will
give evidence. This happened in South Africa.
such a process is envisaged and initiated it must include then a condition
precedent not to renounce all rights to go to Court to enable such crimes
to be fully prosecuted. The organisations and individuals have a right to
fair hearing and trial. No rights should be impinged or negated upon in
the case of those being accused and those alleging abuse.
Executives of children's organisations and government appointed
Commissioners and others quoted in the article should be calling for full
Independent Judicial Inquiries into all of this historical abuse and in
particular Quarriers to learn the full causes, extent and failures of the
past Scottish Care system to protect children placed in past residential
care just as they have undertaken in Ireland and Australia.
We understand following discussions within FBGA with
survivors internally and externally of FBGA within Scotland and outwith that
the points outlined in this letter are the prevailing views of the majority of
survivors and there group representatives.
FBGA would have liked to have been fully consulted prior to
this process being proposed by Lord Clyde, Professor Marshall and Bronwen Cohen
or any other process being envisaged or proposed in the future. Individuals within
FBGA or outwith who wish such a process as Truth and Reconciliation are
entitled to campaign for their Aims outwith FBGA.
FBGA as a group at the heart of the issues with many members
having been through the Scottish Courts will not be diverted by others from
our original Aims and Objectives which are clearly posted on the FBGA website. One of these major Aims was
reinforced and stated publicly in the Scottish Parliament in December 2004
calling for a Full Independent Judicial Inquiry into Quarriers Homes. FBGA
continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government and others to
ensure that all Survivors and their families in Scotland have full access to
health and social services in the future. These discussions and deliberations are ongoing and
FBGA will continue to keep everyone fully informed openly and transparently. All Subgroup minutes will be posted on the FBGA website.
FBGA (Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers Homes).