LONDON: Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed he will examine whether the British paratroopers involved in the Bloody Sunday massacre can be prosecuted for murder, perjury or even perverting the course of justice.As the families of the victims joined civil rights campaigners in wild celebrations in Londonderry, Britain has split over whether the soldiers – many of them now septuagenarians – should face the courts 38 years after the deaths.The Saville report, running to 5000 pages and more than 30 million words of evidence, has been widely praised for its forensic, meticulous sifting of the mountains of evidence from thousands of marchers and witnesses present in Bogside on January 30, 1972.While the more than £190 million cost and the 12 years taken to compile the report has attracted criticism in the past, there is widespread relief both in Northern Ireland and Westminster that its rigorous approach may draw a line under the event, widely accepted to have dramatically escalated the violence that tore Northern Ireland apart in the 20 years that followed.Sir Alasdair Fraser, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, is now expected to carefully assess whether there is sufficient evidence for a ”reasonable prospect” of conviction for those paratroopers identified to have participated in the killings.Lord Gifford QC, who represented the family of one civil rights marcher, Jim Wray, who perished in a hail of gunfire, said that several charges could arise from the report which he described as ”thorough and even-handed”: ”Murder is, of course, the obvious one. But the report also found that soldiers deliberately attempted to mislead the inquiry.”The Prime Minister, David Cameron, who apologised for the massacre in the House of Commons when he unveiled the report, was careful to couch his criticism of the military in unequivocal language, paving the way for a DPP-led decision.”I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers and our army, who I believe to be the finest in the world,” Mr Cameron said.”But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.”While the report has exonerated the army’s then commander of land forces in Northern Ireland, General Robert Ford, of blame, despite his decision to deploy the Parachute Regiment into the city against the advice of a senior police officer in Londonderry, it contained strong criticism of Lieutenant-Colonel Derek Wilford, the officer directly in charge of the paratroopers.The report found that General Ford ”neither knew nor had reason to know at any stage that his decision would or was likely to result in soldiers firing unjustifiably on that day” but Colonel Wilford had ignored orders that he should not order troops beyond a barrier deeper into the Bogside.What followed was ”not a justifiable response to a lethal attack by republican paramilitaries but instead soldiers opening fire unjustifiably”, the report concluded.Calls for the military to be prosecuted are already building from nationalists – but equally, these are starting to be echoed with demands for quid pro quo legal action against suspected IRA killers.For Mr Cameron and his new government, the conundrum may lie in finding an even-handed way to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done.The verdict The report concluded: The order to go into the Bogside should never have been given;None of the victims had a firearm;No warnings were given by the paratroopers – in breach of the soldiers’ terms of engagement;None of the shots was fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks;Some of those killed and injured were fleeing or going to assistance of the dying.
南京夜网