Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Saville (Bloody Sunday) Report is issued

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has issued its report and has found the 14 people who died that day to be innocent victims.   David Cameron's speech in Parliament may be viewed via BBC.  Mr Cameron stated Saville's principal findings and offered a clear apology to the families for what had happened.

Here are links:

Full Report - 10 volumes

The three Tribunal members opted to allow the report to speak for itself.

Addendum 16th June: - The Principal Conclusions document has 9 Chapters.  Chapters 6 to 9 offer a detailed account of  much of the history of Northern Ireland from the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to the weeks just prior to 30th January 1972.  The Chapters are replete with hyperlinks to more detailed references and these Chapters merit a full reading in order to obtain a fuller understanding of the situation which came about in Northern Ireland. 

Chapters 1 and 2 essentially set out the background to the Inquiry.  The events of the day and responsibility for the deaths are addressed in Chapters 3-5.   The findings speak for themselves.  What the future holds now remains to be seen.  There are some voices calling for prosecutions of some of the soldiers.  There are other voices fearing that the concentration by the report on the one event will lead to a kind of "hierarchy of victims" most of which will not have had their deaths investigated as thoroughly - (but see Historical Enquiries Team).  It is to be hoped that this report will go some way to assisting the process of reconciliation which is so necessary if Northern Ireland is to prosper in the future.

Addendum 16th June: - The UK Human Rights Blog has taken an interesting look at "Bloody Sunday, Human Rights and the duty to investigate deaths".   Of course, Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights existed at the time of Bloody Sunday but what is now different is the clear obligation on States, which is implicit in Article 2, to carry out a thorough investigation.  This is sometimes referred to as the "procedural aspect" of Article 2.  The duty to investigate was set out by the European Court of Human Rights in McCann v U.K. (1996) 21 EHRR 97 and was clearly incorporated in English law by the House of Lords in R (Amin) Home Secretary [2003] UKHL 51.

Coroners have to investigate "how, when and where the deceased came by his death".  The House of Lords has ruled that the word "how" includes "by what means" AND "in what circumstances" - R (Middleton) v West Somerset Coroner [2004] UKHL 10.
These developments provide a good example of how, over recent years, Human Rights law has improved the situation within the U.K.

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