HM Government support for UK victims of IRA attacks that used Gaddafi-supplied Semtex and weapons: follow-up Contents


Successive governments have failed to adequately support victims of Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism in the United Kingdom. This Government’s continued inaction following the publication of our predecessor Committee’s report is particularly disappointing. This report calls for a fresh approach to securing compensation for Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism and shines a light on the circumstance surrounding Libya’s frozen assets in the UK.

Whilst we support the recent announcement that the Government has appointed an individual tasked with assessing the level of compensation necessary for victims, we believe more action is required. In particular, the Government should empower this adviser to have a role in securing compensation for victims and engaging in direct government-to-government negotiations with the Libyan authorities.

Since our predecessor Committee’s inquiry, we heard that the value of the frozen Libyan assets in the UK has grown to over £12billion and the Treasury has informed us that they have issued licences allowing some of the value of these assets to be released and managed. This is a worrying trend, and it would be most unjust if these assets are released before compensation is secured. Evidence from the Government has also raised questions surrounding the taxable status of these assets. The Government must therefore release clear information on the taxable status of, and taxes collected from, Libya’s frozen assets and outline whether the case has been considered for compensating victims from this.

Whilst the rhetoric of this Government has been supportive of the victims of Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism, this is yet to translate into tangible progress in supporting and compensating those affected. This contrasts sharply with the actions of the governments of the United States, Germany and France who have secured compensation for victims. This government has a moral duty to act to support victims and to alleviate, as much as possible, the suffering of those affected by these horrific acts of violence.

Published: 9 April 2019