Some Bloody Sunday families have likened the prosecution of British soldiers responsible for the 1972 Derry massacre to the hunt for Nazi war criminals.
In a statement just days before the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry report, a number of relatives of the dead and some of the wounded insist they don’t want soldiers charged out of “vindictiveness”.
“But, if the Bloody Sunday killings don’t merit murder charges,” the statement adds, “then the victims are being treated as less than fully human. We are not going to stand for that.”
The statement has been signed by Kate Nash, Liam Wray, Damien Donaghy, Michael Bridge, Mona Bradley, Tony Deery and Betty Walker.
The group say that, five years on from the publication of the ‘Saville Report’, “not one of the perpetrators has been brought in yet for questioning.”
“This makes no sense,” the statement says.
It adds: “We are told that Bloody Sunday was a long time ago and we should let it go. But it isn’t a long time ago for us. It’s in our minds all the time. We are not asking for special treatment. Any family bereaved as a result of murder will know what we are talking about. They, too, are entitled to a full and proper investigation and for criminal charges to be brought if enough evidence is found. This should apply no matter who the perpetrators are.
“Last week, the veteran republican Ivor Bell was in court in Belfast facing charges arising from the killing of Mrs. Jean McConville in 1972, the same year as Bloody Sunday. In Britain, over recent years, a number of high-profile people have been charged and sentenced for crimes against children dating back to the 1960s. Killings by British troops in Kenya in the 1950s are currently before the courts. Former Nazis are still being sought for their part in the genocide against the Jews in the 1940s.
“The time gap doesn’t excuse the lack of action in relation to Bloody Sunday.”
The statement concludes: “We haven’t had the full truth and we haven’t had justice. This is why we still march on the anniversary on January 30th and campaign throughout the rest of the year. We ask all who support the fight for truth and justice, no matter what their political allegiance, to walk with us along the rest of the way.”