Justice for Bloody Sunday victims after 40 years
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 June 2010, 02:10 GMT]
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, addressing the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon after the release of Saville Report on the killing of thirteen civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland in January 1972, acknowledged that British paratroopers had fired on fleeing unarmed civilians, that British soldiers had fired the first shot, many of the soldiers lied about their actions, and that British soldiers had shot and killed already wounded civilians. The Prime Minister then apologized on behalf of the British Government, according to a BBC report.
On bloody Sunday, twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters or bystanders were shot by the British Army Parachute Regiment during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march. Thirteen men, seven of whom were teenagers, died immediately or soon after, while the death of another man four and a half months later has been attributed to the injuries he received on the day.
Two protesters were injured when they were run down by army vehicles. The report of the Saville Inquiry, which has been accepted by the British government, found that all of those shot were unarmed, and that the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable." Five of those wounded were shot in the back.
Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed Lord Saville of Newdigate, as chairperson for a commision of inquiry in 1998 after campaigns for a second inquiry by families of those killed and injured in Derry on Bloody Sunday.
The inquiry was set up to establish a definitive version of the events, superseding the tribunal set up under Lord Widgery that had reported on 19 April 1972, 11 weeks after the events, and to resolve the accusations of a whitewash that had surrounded Widgery report.