The Operation Kenova interim report sets out the high-level themes and issues highlighted through the Op Kenova Northern Ireland legacy investigations and provides a brief context and history of connected events. It highlights the continuing failure of governments, public authorities, political parties and those who fought in the Troubles to acknowledge properly the hurt inflicted on the families of those who were murdered, or to provide them with a meaningful examination of the circumstances of their deaths. Even the most uncontroversial information about what happened has been withheld from families. In many cases this remains the position today. This lack of disclosure about offences as serious as murder would not be tolerated elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The report also highlights related institutional failings. Several high-profile investigations and inquiries have been commissioned into specific Northern Ireland legacy cases in the past. Each came up against non-disclosure and secrecy and each produced reports which were and largely remain classified ‘Secret’ or ‘Top Secret’. The secrecy surrounding these reports has fed conspiracy theories and hampered reconciliation. Families seek information through every reasonable means available to them, including the police, elected representatives, coroners and civil courts, regulators and the media. When these efforts fail, conspiracy theories and conjecture fill the resulting vacuum and create further trauma and confusion for those most affected. Legacy families will not trust in public institutions unless and until the authorities have given them the truth, acknowledged their loss and mistreatment and provided them with an opportunity to tell their stories.