Covert Policing and Ensuring Accountability: Ten Years on from the Cory Collusion Inquiry Reports, where now?


CAJ in partnership with University of Ulster Transitional Justice Institute (TJI)

will be hosting the following seminar on Tuesday 1 July 2014

Covert Policing and Ensuring Accountability: Ten Years on from the Cory Collusion Inquiry Reports, where now?

Rooms 82A01 and 82A02 University of Ulster Belfast Campus, 9.30am-3pm

Background information for the Covert Policing Seminar can be found by clicking here.

Synopsis: This seminar-conference will explore the themes of covert policing, particularly the running of agents/informants and use of intelligence, and address contemporary and historic questions of human rights compliance and developing a framework to render such practices lawful and accountable.

The discussion will cover perspectives on past covert policing policies in Northern Ireland, and the extent to which they facilitated ‘collusion’; it will highlight the powers of current accountability bodies including the Police Ombudsman and Policing Board, the effectiveness the post-Cory public inquires and explore questions of legal-ethical frameworks to regulate the use and conduct of informants and agents; the seminar will hear of the recent covert policing controversies in London and Germany, relating to the Stephen Lawrence family and ‘National Socialist Underground’ cases respectively; the seminar will also cover the growing issue of the use of intelligence evidence in ‘exceptional’ court proceedings and the growth of the ‘national security’ doctrine, which places many aspects of covert policing, past and present, beyond the reach of accountability bodies.

Summary of Content:

A first panel focusing on ‘Collusion and Covert Policing in NI, where now?’ will be chaired by Dr Louise Mallinder of TJI, speakers: Paul O’Connor, Pat Finucane Centre on the subject of ‘Deadly intelligence and the rule of law’ focusing on what archival material from DeSilva backwards reveals about the modus operandi of covert operations during the conflict; Daniel Holder, CAJ will contrast ‘counter-insurgency’ and ‘law enforcement’ models of covert policing and speak to the development of a human rights and accountability framework for covert policing in NI; finally Dr Cheryl Lawther of the School of Sociology at Queen’s University and author of ‘Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past’ will speak on the theme of ‘Official and Security Force Perspectives on Collusion’.

Session II will focus on the subject of ‘Covert policing and accountability, where now?’ with a first panel which will hear from: Suresh Grover, Director of The Monitoring Group (UK) and former co-ordinator of the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign, focusing onthe undercover operations of the Metropolitan Police; Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Associate Director and Professor TJI speaking on the subject of“The Intersection of Intelligence with Exceptional Courts, Military Commissions and Procedural Exceptionalism” and Carsten Ilius, a lawyer representing victims in the NSU cases in Germany.

Session III chaired by Brian Gormally of CAJ, will focus on oversight mechanisms and will hear from Dr Michael Maguire, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, on the role of the office in overseeing covert policing; Yasmine Ahmed, the Director of Rights Watch UK (nee British Irish Rights Watch)on joint research with CAJ on the outworkings of thepublic inquiries from the Cory Collusion Reports; and Ryan Feeney Independent Member the Northern Ireland Policing Board and member of itsPerformance Committee,will speak on the Board’s work in relation to covert policing.

A light lunch will be provided.

To book a place RSVP by 20 June 2014 CAJ: e-mail or phone Liz McAleer on 028 90316000

There is no charge for attending, please inform us of any specific needs such as access requirements.