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September 22, 2005

6th Report of IMC

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Sixth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission

Presented to the Government of the United Kingdom and the
Government of Ireland under Articles 4 and 7 of the
International Agreement establishing the Independent
Monitoring Commission Ordered by the House of Commons to be
printed September 2005

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© Parliamentary Copyright 2005

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1. We submit this report on the violent feud between the
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Loyalist Volunteer
Force (LVF) under the powers available to us in Articles 4
and 7 of the International Agreement establishing the
Independent Monitoring Commission. Article 4(c) enables us
to submit reports to the British and Irish Governments on
an ad hoc basis if we see fit to do so. This is the second
occasion on which we have presented such an ad hoc report1.

2. We believe that this report is justified because of the
very serious escalation of the violent feud between the UVF
and LVF, especially since the beginning of June 2005. Since
1 July, for example, it has led to four murders and
numerous other violent incidents, as we describe in more
detail below. This report is confined to the feud between
these two organisations. We do not deal here with the
dreadful sectarian attacks over this time nor with the
wider loyalist picture, and we will address these and all
the activities of paramilitary groups over the six-month
period from March 2005, and issues to which they give rise,
in our next full report which we are due to present in
October. That will be our first full Article 4 report since
the PIRA statement of 28 July.

3. As hitherto, we have sought information from as wide a
range of sources as possible and have taken account of
public comments. This includes what we have been told by
political parties and the document "Unionist Paramilitary
Attacks" which Sinn Féin issued in August. This violent
feud differs from many other paramilitary activities in
that there is no significant dispute about either the facts
or the identity of the paramilitary groups responsible. The
issue is the nature and extent of the violence and of the
threats, and their impact on people, particularly in
Belfast. All of these are things which fall squarely in our
remit, and in this report we aim to provide information on
a particularly vicious and nasty manifestation of
paramilitary activity.

1 Our first ad hoc report was on the robbery at the
headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast in December
2004 and some associated robberies. The two Governments
published it as our Fourth Report on 10 February 2005.

4. We have consistently given an account of both the UVF
and LVF in all our full Article 4 reports on paramilitary

5. The UVF is closely linked to the much smaller Red Hand
Commando (RHC). Both have on occasions undertaken vicious
sectarian attacks. We have described the UVF as an
organisation with a centralised structure, generally
coherent decision making and a relatively strong control
over its members. We drew attention in our report published
in November 2004 to the fact that UVF leaders had restated
their commitment to the loyalist ceasefire of 1994. The
Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire statement
expressed "abject and true remorse" for the victims of the
previous twenty years. Nevertheless, the UVF has not
decommissioned weapons, has suspended its contact with the
IICD and in the past two years has been involved in
murders, shootings, assaults and in organised and other
crime. In all our reports we have described the UVF as a
ruthless organisation and as one which would be prepared to
engage in greater violence if it judged that to be in its

6. The LVF was founded in 1996 by members expelled from the
UVF2. It declared a ceasefire in 1998 and handed over some
weapons to the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning but despite this has been involved in
murders, shootings, assaults and other crime since that
time. It has focused most of its activity on organised
crime, particularly drugs. We have noted consistently that
with the very clear exception of organised crime the LVF
has remained less active than it used to be. We said in
April of this year, as we had six months before, that it
appeared to have no inclination to return to significant
levels of violence but that it retained the capacity to do
so should its intentions change.

7. Feuding between the UVF and LVF goes back to the
foundation of the LVF. Since then there has been a history
of bad blood and of personal and organisational hatred
which has flared into violence from time to time. The
phases in the feud have sometimes appeared to merge so that
it can be difficult to distinguish one from another. But
over the whole period it has resulted in at least 10
murders3 as well as 2 The death of founding member Billy
Wright is now the subject of one of a number of public

3 Other murders are associated with these organisations. We
do not include them because they are not the result of the
feud. a very large number of acts of violence before things
erupted again early this summer.


8. In our report published in November 2004 we drew
attention to the feud which had involved a number of
violent incidents starting with the murder of Brian Stewart
on 18 May 2004, and which had ended only when the LVF
agreed to stand down the East Belfast members responsible
for the violence. Six months later we nevertheless found it
necessary to refer to continuing conflict between the two
organisations and we singled out incidents in January 2005
when LVF members had fired shots at premises of a taxi
company with UVF connections and UVF attacks on members of
the LVF in December and January, including one shooting
which resulted in a person being charged with attempted

9. Taking the period beginning with the murder of Brian
Stewart in May 2004 until the end of August 2005 there have
been: – 5 murders, all by the UVF of people the UVF
perceived to be members or associates of the LVF, four
since 1 July 2005;

The victims have been:

Brian Stewart, 18 May 2004;
Jameson Lockhart, 1 July 2005;
Craig McCausland, 11 July 2005;
Stephen Paul, 30 July 2005;
Michael Green, 15 August 2005.

We recognise that people may have expected us to refer here
to the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian on 28 February 2005
and her murder and to the murder of Thomas Devlin on 10
August 2005. We have no reason to believe that either
murder was carried out on behalf of a paramilitary

– 17 attempted murders, 15 by the UVF of people the UVF
perceived to be members or associates of the LVF and 2 by
the LVF of people the LVF perceived to be members or
associates of the UVF;

– 6 incidents involving either shooting at an individual or
the firing of shots at a building;

– 18 incidents involving the use of explosives or petrol

– 1 incident involving the ramming of a vehicle and the
production of a gun;

– 1 incident of criminal damage;

– 1 disturbance.

10. Of these 49 incidents, 38 involved attacks by the UVF
on people they perceived to be connected to the LVF and 11
by the LVF on people they perceived to be connected to the
UVF. The disturbance is attributable to both. As we show
above, the great majority of the murders and attempted
murders were undertaken by the UVF. Of the incidents
attributable to the UVF, 15 occurred over the period from
18 May 2004 to the end of June 2005, and 23 after 1 July
2005. Of those attributable to the LVF, 5 occurred in the
earlier period and 6 since 1 July.

11. Taking all these incidents together, without
distinguishing between them on grounds of seriousness, the
following is the pattern of occurrence:

It is thus clear that there was a surge of activity in May
2004 and again in December 2004 and January 2005, and that
it became particularly intense from the beginning of July
this year. All but a few of the incidents took place in
North or East Belfast.

12. In addition there were a number of threats against
taxis in the Crumlin Road in October 2004; numerous arson
attacks on taxis in the same area in January 2005; and the
forced departure of families in Garnerville in July 2005.
It is not possible to be certain how many individual
incidents took place at these times, and we cannot
therefore include them in the figures. There are also
likely to have been other incidents, for example involving
threats, which have not been reported and which we are
unable to bring to public attention. But the fact that they
were not reported does not mean they were anything other
than traumatic for the victims.


13. This feud has erupted in bloodthirsty thuggery between
paramilitary groups. A number of explanations have been
offered to us: the history of rivalry and hatred, personal
animosity, the LVF's involvement in drugs, allegations and
counter allegations about treachery, criminal competition,
greed and power. We believe that, while the recent
escalation of the feud may have boiled up as a result of
local animosities set against the history of longstanding
rivalry, the UVF leadership has decided that now is the
right time to finish off the LVF. In the case of the LVF,
we believe their violence against the UVF and its
supporters, though coherent and fuelled by rivalry and
animosity, is more by way of response than initiated as a
campaign designed to achieve a purpose other than survival.

14. As with so much paramilitary activity there are many
victims. Clearly there are those directly caught up in the
violence – the people killed or wounded, their families,
friends and neighbours. Some of the victims were people
wrongly identified by the paramilitaries. Some suffered
because of family or other links, though they were entirely
free of paramilitary or criminal associations themselves.
Around them are the communities within which both criminals
and victims live. Within these same communities are people
who are giving enlightened and courageous leadership. They
are seeking to direct paramilitaries towards more
acceptable and in the long term more constructive paths.
They are encouraging wider community development. They
deserve every support in this work.

15. Both paramilitary groups claim to represent these
communities and to have a role in their protection and
development. It is communities such as these which most
need economic and social development, where opportunities
and horizons should be widened, and where it is so
important to give the young role models which will enhance
their chances in the future. Yet the continuing malign and
destructive influence of the paramilitaries serves only to
hinder this. The feud makes it far worse. Paramilitaries
must stop putting their own interests and the advancement
of their own positions above those for whom they
deceitfully claim to speak.

16. The feud has presented the PSNI with a major additional
challenge. It comes at a time when there have been many
other demands on them, including tackling organised crime,
and it has inevitably led to a diversion of resources from
this work. They have made 45 arrests since the beginning of
July 2005. Fifteen people have been charged and 126
searches undertaken. Since 1 July they have informed 146
people that they may be under threat as a result of the
feud. The police continue to have successes against
organised crime involving both the UVF and LVF, for example
in relation to drugs, robbery and extortion. They have
responded to and investigated incidents arising from the
feud and have been able to pre-empt some. People –
including those associated with these two paramilitary
groups – almost certainly owe their lives to prompt police
action. But the nature of the feud sometimes makes it
particularly hard for the police to do this: many of these
attacks are perpetrated on the spur of the moment and take
place between people living in close proximity, so that the
advance warning the police might hope to gain is often

17. We have consistently condemned all forms of
paramilitarism and will continue to do so. It is not
possible to compare different forms in terms of the outrage
they cause but in the period since we were established in
January 2004 there has been no sustained series of violent
incidents which has matched the murders and selfinterested
violence of the UVF/LVF feud.


18. Article 4 of the International Agreement directs us to
consider the leadership of paramilitary groups and Article
7 allows us to make recommendations affecting, among other
things, that leadership. Of these two groups, the LVF is a
paramilitary and criminal organisation and no political
party is linked to it. The UVF is associated with a
political party with elected representatives, namely the
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). Where it is relevant, the
criminal law must deal with the leadership of both
organisations, as with other aspects of their activities.
It is essential too that the communities do not shield
people who have broken the law. We will return to this
issue in future reports.

19. We have commented on the PUP and its association with
the UVF in each of our full Article 4 reports. In April
2004 we noted that the leadership of the PUP had close
personal links with the leadership of the UVF and RHC and
was in our view aware of the paramilitary activities of
both organisations. We concluded that the PUP had not
sufficiently discharged its responsibility to exert all
possible influence to prevent illegal activities on the
part of the UVF and RHC. We went on to say that had the
Assembly then been functioning we would have recommended
measures up to and including exclusion from office. Because
it was not functioning we recommended that the Secretary of
State consider exercising his powers in respect of the
salary of Assembly members and/or the funding of Assembly
parties so as to impose an appropriate financial penalty on
the PUP. As a result the Secretary of State removed block
financial assistance for the PUP in the Assembly for twelve
months from the end of April 2004.

20. In our next Article 4 report in October 2004, when the
financial measures were still in force, we referred to the
talks then taking place between the Northern Ireland
political parties and the two Governments and said that we
would consider in the light of their outcome whether the
PUP was exerting all possible influence to prevent illegal
activity by the UVF.

21. In our following report, which we submitted in April of
this year and was published in May, we concluded that the
circumstances we had previously described had not
materially changed and we recommended that the Secretary of
State should continue the financial measures against the
PUP in the Assembly. He announced in July that he was
minded to accept this recommendation and has since
considered representations he has received from the PUP.

22. We have noted the comments of Mr Ervine of the PUP in
response to the announcement of the Secretary of State's
intention. He said that neither he nor other PUP leaders
were in leadership positions in the UVF and that they had
not broken any law. He argued that it was contrary to
natural justice to punish people who were not responsible
for what the paramilitaries did and he subsequently made
representations to the Secretary of State.

23. We are aware of the view that the PUP is not strong
enough to influence the UVF – in effect that it is the UVF
rather than the PUP which leads. But two facts remain.
First, the PUP is a political party represented at both
Assembly and local government levels, and in the case of
the latter it stood in the May 2005 elections. Second, it
is associated with the UVF. No democratic political party
can expect to have it both ways4. It can either
disassociate itself from the paramilitary group, or it must
accept the consequences of its association. The
circumstances of the current feud make that all the more

24. We believe that there is still an association between
the PUP and UVF. We think now, as we have before, that the
PUP has not done all that could be done to prevent
paramilitary activity and has not credibly voiced or
exerted its opposition to paramilitaries, and the UVF in
particular. The events we describe in this report reinforce
the conclusions we reached in our last report, namely that
the removal of block financial assistance from the PUP in
the Northern Ireland Assembly for twelve months should be

25. Moreover, in our first report we urged the community to
move on from the narrow debate about whether or not
paramilitary organisations were or were not on ceasefire
and instead to address the broader question of whether they
are engaged in any illegal activity. However, the fact
remains that when an organisation concerned in 4 In our
previous report, published in May 2005, we set out our
understanding of what we thought the Northern Ireland
political parties should achieve, given the normal
standards expected of political parties in a democratic
society. We repeat what we said in the Annex to this
report. terrorism is recognised as being on ceasefire that
has legal consequences such as those in the Northern
Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. For that and other reasons
the issue cannot simply be ignored. In view of the ongoing
violence and brutal murders committed by the UVF and
recorded in this report, we find it difficult to see how
the Secretary of State could continue to recognise the UVF

26. This report focuses on the feud between the UVF and the
LVF but a major concern is the impact on the communities
involved. Because these groups maintain their control
through violence and crime, we recommend that the PSNI and
the Assets Recovery Agency build on the success they have
already had and continue their intense and co-ordinated
investigations aimed at the leadership of these two


In our Fifth Report we said: 8.10 Given the normal
standards expected of political parties in a democratic
society, what should Northern Ireland political parties
achieve? They should:

– Make their commitment to the ending of all forms of
paramilitary crime credible and vocal.

– By any lawful means exert the maximum possible influence
to the same end over paramilitary groups and over
individual members.

– Credibly and vocally challenge those members of
paramilitary groups who may be reluctant to give up crime,
and give full support to those who are ready to do so.

– Give credible, vocal and practical support to all parts
of the criminal justice system, including policing, and
similarly accept the definition of crime that the law lays

– Play a full and constructive role in the participative
organs of the criminal justice system such as the Policing
Board and the District Policing Partnerships.

– Within the framework of support for the rule of law,
engage in open and constructive debate with the two
Governments and with the various commissions and other
bodies in Northern Ireland concerned with the criminal
justice system over the ending of all forms of paramilitary
crime and the establishment of firm community support for
the criminal justice system.

Printed in the UK by The Stationery Office Limited on
behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office
Dd PC1488 C7 09/05

Published by TSO (The Stationery Office) and available
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