Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Another English war crime

Fifty years ago, the British army murdered ten people in the Ballymurphy massacre in Northern Ireland. In what has become a common tactic for the British establishment, they immediately tried to cover up their crime by smearing the victims as IRA members. Now, a UK coroner has ruled the killings unjustified:

Ten people killed in Belfast during a British army operation in 1971 were unarmed, innocent civilians and posed no threat to soldiers, an inquest in Northern Ireland has found.

The damning findings in a long-awaited coroner’s report implicated the army in an atrocity to rival Bloody Sunday, potentially galvanising a new push to prosecute army veterans.

Nine of the dead were killed by soldiers using unjustified force but the inquest could not establish who killed the 10th victim, John McKerr, during a blood-soaked incursion in Ballymurphy, a west Belfast Catholic neighbourhood, in August 1971.

“All of the deceased in the series of inquests were entirely innocent of wrongdoing on the day in question,” said the coroner, Mrs Justice Keegan, dismissing claims by soldiers that some of the victims had been armed and shooting.

The next step must be to identify and prosecute those responsible for these crimes. And if the UK refuses to do it, then the international community must do it for them.