Published Tuesday, 15 September 2009
DUP MLA Jeffrey Donaldson said there could be no moral equivalence between perpetrators and their victims.
He launched a public consultation on a private member's bill in the Assembly to narrow the scope of the definition of a victim.
He said: "It is about how we deal with the past, and what we are not prepared to countenance is a rewriting of the troubles where the perpetrators, whoever they are, IRA, Ulster Defence Association whoever, who carried out acts of terrorism are placed on a par with the thousands of people they killed and maimed."
"I want to see the process moving on and a Northern Ireland that puts the past behind it but in seeking to deal with the past, it is important we clearly understand that there was wrongdoing and that wrongdoing is recognised."
There will be a four-week consultation period and the DUP hopes to obtain wide cross-party support, although Sinn Fein is likely to oppose it.
Earlier this year the Eames/Bradley Consultative Group on the Past published proposals for a recognition payment to all victims which was dismissed by the government following a strong reaction from unionists.
There were clashes between rival groups of victims in Belfast as the Consultative Group published its findings.
Mr Donaldson added it was important the wrongdoing of the past was marked.
"If you don't, what are you saying to the terrorists out there like the Real IRA who continue to engage in acts of terrorism?" he added.
"If you are saying that the acts of the terrorist are in some way sanitised surely that gives them, in their warped view, a moral authority to do what they are doing."
Sinn Fein spokesman on victims Francie Molloy said any attempt by the DUP to create a hierarchy of victims would be vigorously opposed by his party.
"This is totally unacceptable and will be opposed by Sinn Fein. The current classification came about after years of consultation and painstaking campaigning by victims' organisations with the support of Sinn Fein."
"Given the universal view on this issue amongst those groups representing victims of British state violence, I would fully expect the SDLP to join with us in blocking this offensive electioneering by the DUP."
"Such a Bill from the DUP has nothing at all to do with the needs of victims. It is a cynical use of a very emotive issue in an attempt to outmanoeuvre Jim Allister's electoral challenge in hardline unionist areas."
He said that for too long the DUP had played party politics with the issue and would not be allowed to succeed in elevating one victim above another.
"Sinn Fein will robustly block any attempt to go back down that road including introducing a petition of concern against the adoption of any such Bill in the Assembly," he added.