The recent news that the Police Service of Northern Ireland had launched a murder inquiry into the deaths of 13 people killed by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in 1972 will further serve to stoke the fires of sectarian bitterness. British Gazette readers will know that the Saville Inquiry cost £195 million and took twelve years to report.
What not all readers may know is that witnesses were granted immunity from prosecution on the grounds of self-incrimination, which means that any testimony by the troops concerned cannot be used against them in future legal proceedings.
It is fairly certain that given this immunity, the solicitor for the troops will have urged them to “fess up” – if there was anything to “fess up” to. This of course means that prosecutions may well be impossible.
Of course, any failure to prosecute will result in more sectarian bitterness. This is a no win situation.