David Ford stated: “We have said it before and we will say it again, it is unacceptable to talk about dealing genuinely with victims while at the same time suggesting the perpetrators of appalling crimes should be allowed to move on without facing the courts.
“We reluctantly accepted, under the terms of the Agreement, that those who had committed appalling crimes in time of conflict would be allowed out on licence. But they had faced the court, and their release was and is conditional. In the case of on-the-runs, we can have no less than the same treatment. Any discussion to the contrary merely raises questions about the democratic intentions and commitment to the rule of law of those discussing it.
“A stable process of moving on into the future cannot be based on pretending serious crimes were not crimes. Justice must prevail.”