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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Inquiry urged to identify soldiers
Bloody Sunday
Fourteen civilians died after Bloody Sunday shootings
There has been a lack of urgency in identifying soldiers in photographs taken on Bloody Sunday, a tribunal into the atrocity has heard.

A lawyer acting for some of the victims' families said they were at a disadvantage in not knowing the roles of individual soldiers during the civil rights march.

The Saville Inquiry is examining the events of 30 January 1972 when 13 civilians were shot dead by British army soldiers during a civil rights march in the city. A 14th person died later.

Lawyer Barry MacDonald told the inquiry on Thursday that it became clear during evidence that the soldiers' team was aware of the identities of individual personnel in photos.


What he said was that the man stuck his head round the corner between blocks two and three and started firing

Bilal Rawat
Counsel to the inquiry

The soldiers have not been identified by name, but each has been given a codename.

"If it is the case that the soldiers' team have not in fact been engaged vigorously on a project to help provide the tribunal and the families' representatives with an annotated bundle of photographs showing the soldiers, then that seems quite unfair," he said.

Michael Mansfield QC pointed out that Peter Clarke QC, who represents some of the soldiers, had been able to identify soldiers during the cross-examination of French photographer Gilles Peress.

Mr Mansfield said his team should be provided with photographs with each soldier labelled by code.

Series of photos

Inquiry chairman Lord Saville said the identification process had started and said those photographs of most interest should be prioritised.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Peress said he did not see any gunmen operating in the Bogside area of the city.

However, a paratrooper who was located at Rossville Flats car park has submitted a statement to the Saville Inquiry saying he returned fire after a man opened up with an M1 carbine.


I stepped out from the cover of the corner and held my cameras up above my head and shouted "Press"

Gilles Peress Photographer

Mr Peress took a series of photos of one of the victims, Patrick Doherty, as he crawled through an alleyway between blocks two and three of the flats.

Later he took pictures of Mr Doherty as he lay dead on the other side of the gap.

Bilal Rawat, counsel to the inquiry, referred to a statement from Sergeant O, who said he fired at a gunman positioned in the alleyway.

"What he said was that the man stuck his head round the corner between blocks two and three and started firing with what Sergeant O took to be an M1 carbine," he said.

"Obviously, in order to take the photographs, you took them after you had gone through the alleyway," said Mr Rawat.

"Crouched"

"Sergeant O's evidence raises the possibility that in going through that alleyway you might have run into someone holding a weapon."

But Mr Peress told him that he did not see anyone holding a gun.

Earlier, the photographer recalled being shot at by a paratrooper as he made his way up Chamberlain Street towards the Rossville Flats.

"He was in a crouched position in full battle dress wearing a helmet with the visor up. He was holding his rifle at his side, parallel to his hip.

"The soldier made eye contact with me. I stepped out from the cover of the corner and held my cameras up above my head and shouted `Press!'.

"He then fired a shot at me.

"I then quickly headed for cover up Chamberlain Street in the direction of the Rossville Flats," he added.

Lord Saville Inquiry chairman
Lord Saville is heading inquiry into Bloody Sunday

The photographer, who was covering the civil rights march for the Magnum international photo agency, produced some of the most graphic images of the day.

In his statement, he recalled being kicked by one of Patrick Doherty's friends as he continued taking photos of his body.

"I hung around this area for some time watching the wounded being evacuated and then after a while, I am not sure how long, heard the sound of low velocity rounds being fired from the Free Derry Corner area," he said.

Lord Saville of Newdigate and the commonwealth judges accompanying him on the Bloody Sunday inquiry began their work nearly four years ago.

They are not expected to report back until 2004.

The Bloody Sunday inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and injured.

They felt that the Widgery Inquiry, held shortly after the shootings, did not find out the truth about what happened on Bloody Sunday.

Find out more about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry


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22 May 02 | N Ireland
21 May 02 | N Ireland
01 May 02 | N Ireland
30 Apr 02 | N Ireland
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