Bloody Sunday families in appeal over Saville report
Bloody Sunday families in appeal over Saville report

The Bloody Sunday families have called on Lord Saville to publish his report on the 1972 killings rather than hand it over to the British government.

Lord Saville’s report is expected to be ready in the week beginning March 22.

It was always expected that he would hand the report to British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward.

The families have said this would give the initiative to representatives of the British soldiers who killed their loved ones as they would have access to the report before its publication.

At a press conference in Derry, the families called on Saville to take “full responsibility for the release of the report to all interested parties at the same time”.

The families were supported by politicians including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and SDLP MP Mark Durkan as well as US Congress members Joseph Crowley, Eliot Engel, Richard Neal and Chris Smith.

In a letter to Saville, Tony Doherty -- whose father Patrick was shot dead on Bloody Sunday -- also asked Lord Saville to retain his report until a new parliament was put in place should the present Westminster parliament be dissolved before he had delivered it.

Bloody Sunday campaigner Eamonn McCann said it was unacceptable that the report should be available to Britain’s Ministry of Defence before the families .

“I think that all Lord Saville has to do is to insist that his report is published in a way which ensures the truth is put out there,” he said.

Martin McGuinness backed the Bloody Sunday families’ demand.

“I have been appraised by the families on the situation surrounding the publication of the Saville Report into the murders in Derry on Bloody Sunday 1972. I share the concerns of the families in that they feel it is imperative that they receive the Report at the same time as the British government.

“In fact I am of the firm belief that consideration of the families legitimate requests should take primacy over any consideration of the British government or its paratroopers who were responsible for the massacre of innocents in Derry on 30th January 1972. The families and their legal representatives should have sight of this report in full.

“The fact is that the Saville Inquiry, as a public body, discharges the same responsibilities regarding the right to life under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act and gives the same consideration to what the British government refers to as ‘national security’ concerns as the government itself. Therefore there is no logical reason for the British Secretary of State to be in receipt of the report 14 days before its publication.

“Other Inquiries - the latest being the Hutton Inquiry in 2005 despite posing the same concerns around ‘right to life’ and so called ‘national security’ issues was not subject to this period of examination by government before it was released simultaneously to all interested parties and government. As a public body Saville takes full responsibility in fulfilling the British government’s responsibilities in these areas.

He said an attempt was being made to give “unfair advantage to the British government over the families” and was unacceptable.

“This can only give rise to suspicions of interference and attempts to portray the actions of the British government of the day and its armed forces in the best possible light. This is contrary to natural justice. Openness and transparency is paramount. There should be no proofing or editing of the report before the families have sight of it - only full disclosure of the findings of the Inquiry is acceptable.”

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