The families of those killed on Bloody Sunday branded attempts to protect aging British soldiers from facing justice, “a disgrace”.
Gerry Duddy, whose brother Jackie was killed aged 17 on January 30, 1972, said the fight for justice would continue, adding: “We say once a murderer always a murderer, no matter what age.”
Mr. Duddy read out a statement on behalf of the families at the annual memorial service in the Bogside on Sunday morning. He said: “In 2010 Lord Saville finally acknowledged what Derry had known all along: that our loved ones were innocent and had therefore been killed unlawfully. This means that ultimately someone is responsible.
“For too long we have listened to English politicians, unionist politicians, the British military and the right wing British Press defend the actions of the soldiers, ex-soldiers, regardless of what they have done. We listen as they insist aging soldiers should be protected from prosecution regardless of their crimes. What a disgrace. Is life not precious? By their stance they belittle human life and support the murder of innocents. At this very moment they are debating whether ex-servicemen should be prosecuted because of old age. We say once a murderer always a murderer, no matter what age.
“What people fail to realise is that soldiers must be investigated now because they were never investigated in the past.
“Over 300 State killings here, only four soldiers were ever convicted of murder, all of whom were released early, some promoted.
“Elements within the legal system are attempting to protect the very soldiers who broke the law to murder and maim on Irish soil.
“We demand that those who murdered our civilians and loved ones be prosecuted in a Court of law. This responsibility now lies with the Public Prosecution Service. We say to them do the right thing. Prosecute those who murdered without guilt or remorse. Justice must be seen to be done. Do it now.”
Mickey McKinney, whose brother Willie was also murdered on Bloody Sunday, said that 45 years on, time was a major factor in securing justice. “I want them in court, and all the other relatives want them in court,” he said. “Time is marching on. That’s one of the main factors in the whole process.”