McConville: My mother’s murder is a war crime

The kidnapping, brutal murder and burial of Jean McConville for 31 years in an unmarked grave by the provisional IRA is a "war crime" that should be investigated in the Hague.

McConville: My mother’s murder is a war crime

Michael McConville, one of Ms McConville’s 10 children who were orphaned after the notorious Belfast murder in 1972, made the claim after Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams told a US TV station the incident is “what happens in war”.

Speaking during an in-depth interview on flagship CBS programme 60 Minutes on Sunday, Mr Adams said the murder of the 38-year-old over disputed suggestions she was passing information to British soldiers was just a grim reality of the Troubles.

While claiming he was not trying to “minimise it”, Mr Adams said “that’s what happens in wars. That’s what American soldiers do, British soldiers do, Irish republican soldiers do. That’s what happens in every single conflict”.

Responding to the comments on RTE’s Morning Ireland yesterday, Mr McConville said if Mr Adams’ suggestion the death is “what happens in war” is correct then the perpetrators took part in a “war crime” and need to be investigated by a war crimes tribunal at the Hague. “If this was a war then the execution and death and burial, the kidnapping of our mother, is a war crime. Ireland is the only place where people are not charged with war crimes. All around the world, if this happened people would have been brought to justice for a war crime.

“Gerry Adams is a hypocrite. If this had happened to an IRA family and 10 children were left orphaned would he say the same thing? I don’t think so,” he said.

When asked to comment on Mr Adams’s insistence during the CBS interview his “hands are clean”, that he was not a member of the provisional IRA and played no role in the woman’s death, Mr McConville added: “Gerry Adams was telling lies. He knew everything that was happening with the IRA. Gerry Adams was a leading figure, Brendan Hughes [a former senior member of the IRA who in a Boston College interview before his death accused Mr Adams of ordering Ms McConville’s murder] said Gerry Adams gave the order to kill our mother.

”Everybody knows he was in the IRA. The only person who didn’t know was Gerry Adams.”

While it is unlikely any case will be brought to the Hague, fresh claims — which have been repeatedly denied — that the Sinn Féin leader was connected to one of the most notorious deaths during the Troubles after recent controversy over the cover-up of abuse cases are likely to cause concern for the party as it seeks to grow its support in the polls.

After the Boston College revelations led to the PSNI interviewing a number of people relating to the case, Mr Adams voluntarily attended four days of questioning in April 2014. He was subsequently released without charge due to “insufficient evidence”.

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