The only British soldier who was indicted for his part in the 1972 bloodbath on ‘Bloody Sunday’ does not have to stand trial. That is what the victims ‘ families have been told by the British justice system. There’s not enough evidence to prosecute him.
On 30 January 1972, British soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, who were demonstrating for more civil rights. Fourteen Catholic boys and men were killed. Those events have gone down in history as Bloody Sunday.
In 2010, a British investigative report by Judge Mark Saville concluded that the death of the 14 was “unjust and indefensible”. Some of the victims were shot as they fled, others as they tried to help seriously injured people.
Then Prime Minister Cameron apologized on behalf of the House of Commons. Subsequently, the question was asked whether British soldiers responsible for the massacre should be prosecuted.
In 2019, 16 military personnel were found to have insufficient evidence to prosecute them. A 17th soldier, called private F, was charged with two murders and attempted murder of five others. After further investigation, the public prosecutor has now decided that this military man also does not have to stand trial, because there is not enough evidence.
Lawyers of the next of kin have immediately informed us that they are going to ask for a review of that decision. A brother of one of the victims says that this decision does not exonerate private F.
“The whole world knows what he’s done. We’ll find a way to get justice.”
Bloody Sunday took place during the Troubles, the description of the Northern Irish civil war that lasted well into the 1990s. In it, Catholics who opposed British rule and sought affiliation with Ireland were opposed to Protestants who wanted to maintain ties with Britain. The conflict in Northern Ireland was settled in 1998 with the signing of The Good Friday Agreement.
Bloody Sunday became known to many young people by U2’s 1983 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, which became a worldwide hit. In 2002, director Paul Greengrass released a film about the massacre.