A historic preliminary hearing opens Wednesday [18 September] in Londonderry, the second largest city in Northern Ireland, against a former British paratrooper charged with two murders during the "Bloody Sunday" in 1972.
In Northern Ireland, the city of Derry-Londonderry trapped in Brexit
Presented as the " soldier F He had been indicted in March 2019 for murdering two Catholics and trying to kill four others. "F" is the first British soldier to be prosecuted following the January 30, 1972 massacre in the Republican Catholic Fiefdom of Bogside in Londonderry.
A decision that divides
The hearing of soldier F "Comes after a long campaign of families of victims seeking justice. Northern Ireland prosecutors have examined the cases of seventeen former British soldiers possibly implicated. They decided to pursue only one of them, considering that there was "Enough evidence available" to charge him, but considering that this was not the case in the other files.
This decision had angered the relatives of the victims. For them, the case does not stop there. "The campaign is still going on"said last month John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother was killed during the "Bloody Sunday". "What people want is truth and justice".
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For its part, a defense organization of former British soldiers, Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, denounced the judicial decision. "No soldier should be charged. It happened forty-seven years ago, you have to know how to draw a line and go forward ", had pleaded its founder, Alan Barry. At the time of the announcement of his indictment, the then British Minister of Defense, Gavin Williamson, claimed that the "Soldier F" would benefit from the support of the UK government, which would pay for its legal costs.
On 30 January 1972, thirteen demonstrators were killed when a British paratroopers' regiment opened fire on the crowd during a march for equal civil rights between Catholics and Protestants, in a climate of violence and inter-communal tension. .
In 2010, a public inquiry revealed that British troops fired first and made a misleading account of the facts. British Prime Minister David Cameron then made an official apology, calling the events of 30 January 1972"Unjustified and unjustifiable".