Jailing of Nazi shows justice is possible: BSMC
The sentencing of a 101-year old ex-member of the Schutztaffel (SS) for his role in the murder of thousands at Sachsenhausen has been cited by Bloody Sunday campaigners as an example of the possibility of justice over time.
Betty Doherty of the Bloody Sunday March Committee (BSMC) argued the successful pursuit of former Nazi members in Germany showed prosecutions are possible even after more than 70 years.
“The Tories in Britain argue there’s no point charging British soldiers for killings during the conflict because it was all too long ago. The chance of convictions was ‘vanishingly small’, NIO Minister Brandon Lewis told the Commons...during a debate on the Tory ‘amnesty’ bill,” said Ms. Doherty.
However, she pointed to the five year sentence handed to the elderly former guard for his role as an accessory in over 3,500 counts of murder at Sachsenhausen concentration camp at Oranienburg, north of Berlin, during WW2 as an example of justice served after the passage of time.
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Ms Doherty said: “The prosecution authorities have made it clear that the pursuit of the war criminals will continue until all who remain are brought to justice. If the German State can face up to crimes committed in its name 75 years ago, the British State should be made to come clean about its own more recent crimes here.
“BSMC strongly believes and holds the view that the relatives and supporters of the victims of the British State are entitled to insist on German levels of justice.”
“The Government’s Legacy Bill will deliver a significantly different and improved approach to addressing the legacy of the Troubles in NI, focused on information recovery and reconciliation. This legislation seeks to strike the right balance between a clear focus on information recovery, while ensuring that those who committed crimes during the Troubles are not able to obtain ‘something for nothing’.
“Those who do not cooperate with the independent Commission will remain liable to prosecution should sufficient evidence exist, or come to light. The legislation will provide answers and accountability for many more families, deliver on our commitments to those who served in NI, many of whom are also victims, and help society in NI to look forward.”
The proposals have attracted widespread opposition from across the political spectrum in Ireland.
Controversially, the legislation proposes a statute of limitations for all Troubles-related killings. It was born of the Conservative Party 2019 manifesto pledge: “We will also never forget the immense contribution of the police and Armed Forces in standing firm against terrorists in the past and the debt we owe them for peace today.
“We will continue to seek better ways of dealing with legacy issues that provide better outcomes for victims and survivors and do more to give veterans the protections they deserve.”