Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions is to charge one soldier with murder and attempted murder over the 1972 killings. But this is not just a question of history

It is now approaching half a century since Bloody Sunday, when British troops fired on civil rights demonstrators in Derry. The killings not only left families distraught but, as the brother of one victim observed on Thursday, deepened and widened the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Widgery Tribunal of the same year compounded anger. It took more than 25 years, and the peace process, for the British government to commission another inquiry. In 2010 Lord Saville finally delivered his devastating report. A lengthy police inquiry followed.

Now one former paratrooper is to stand trial for the murder of two men, and attempted murder of three more. Prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of convicting other suspects on similar charges, though some may yet face perjury cases.

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