Sunday, January 28 will mark 52 years since the British army unlawfully and without justification opened fire on participants in a Civil Rights March in Derry killing 13 people.

It would take 30 years before a public enquiry would confirm what anyone looking objectively at the events of that day already knew.

British soldiers intentionally targeted and without justification killed 13 unarmed civilians running from the Army’s advance.

It took so long, not because the truth was complicated but because those with responsibility to protect the truth had failed to do so from the moment the very first shot was fired.

The individual soldiers lied. Their officers knew that. They protected the lies, co-ordinated them and repeated them to the Army Press Office, who churned them out to mainstream journalists and news desks.

The journalists and news desks obligingly repeated the lies and in casting doubt on any alternative view, reinforced the lie.

At each point, those who should have interrogated the matter failed to do so, despite the chasm between official statements and those of eyewitnesses, including accredited journalists; photographers and marchers.

Instead, they knowingly repeated the lie or remained silent to protect the Army, the Government and the State.

Thereafter, they remained silent to protect themselves from accountability in escalating the already growing violence, of both the State and those protesting its unjust discrimination, to the status of ‘undeclared war’.

In 2010, Lord Saville blamed individual unnamed soldiers for the unlawful, unjustified killing.

Like the Sub-Post Masters, the survivors and families of victims of the Liverpool Hillsborough disaster, and others wrongfully accused by the powerful, those who had marched in Derry on January 30, 1972, the families of those killed, and almost every person who had persisted demanding for Truth and Justice were vindicated.

The financial cost of disproving the lie was £191.5 million a testament to the determination to conceal the truth.

Disproving a lie is not the same thing as establishing the truth.

The individual motive for each soldier who took a decision to identify a specific person, take aim at that person, fire and kill has yet to be established. That is a matter for a court of law.

I do not and never did accept Saville’s view that the soldiers responsible lost the “run” of themselves and “ran amok”.

Saville did not investigate the possibility that the attack was government policy; the decision taken at the highest level.

I have always argued that the British government should be held accountable for Bloody Sunday at the independent international courts in The Hague.

Saville’s conclusion protected the State but was undermined by the determination of those families who continued to protest and march for Truth and Justice.

Without the sound of marching feet and voices raised for Justice, no soldier would ever have been charged.

The purpose of the UK Legacy Bill is not to protect soldiers, state agents etc. from prosecution but rather to prevent accused soldiers, in their own defence, tell the truth in court, implicating the State in criminal activity amounting to war crimes against their own citizens.

The ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was not even a ‘nationalist’ march in as much as the purpose of the march was not to protest the legitimacy of continued colonial rule over the territory.

NICRA (Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association), the protest organisers campaigned for equality of access, treatment and rights. What was to become known as the ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was specifically an anti-internment march.

On August 9, 1971, the Unionist Government, under the Special Powers Act, ordered the civil and military authorities to forcibly enter over 400 homes in the early hours of the morning, arrest and detain, without warrant or charge, named people living there.

342 people were arrested and detained in internment camps.

In the aftermath, 17 people were killed. 11 of them in Ballymurphy by the same British Army mobilised in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

The internees were almost exclusively male and Catholic, by community marker. The few who didn’t fit that profile were considered Communists, agitators or apologists for violence – shorthand for anyone having ethical concerns about the manner in which Unionism conducted itself and treated both its political opponents and the Catholic population as enemies of the state.

Some of those named avoided arrest by being already dead for some considerable time, belonging to the previous generation of ‘Special Power’ internees from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

In such cases, the ‘snatch’ squad - to be on the safe side - made do with a son or grandson.

Others avoided arrest by not being home at the time and their absence was used as evidence of their guilt of something yet to be determined.

Cahir Healy, former Nationalist Party MP for Tyrone and Fermanagh who died in 1970 might have been on the outdated ‘suspect’ list for all we know.

He was avowedly both anti-abstention and anti-physical force, but in 1922, consistently argued that both Fermanagh and Tyrone should be included in the Free State when the final border was drawn.

As an elected representative, he was interned from 1922-24 as a consequence.

In his own words: “All my life I’ve been a man of peace. It is not, therefore, because they feared that I would disturb the peace of Northern Ireland that they dragged me away from my wife and family, but for political reasons.

“I have been engaged in preparing the case for the inclusion of these areas (Fermanagh and Tyrone) in the Free State.

“To get me out of the way, local politicians urged my arrest.”

700 people were interned over that period, all of them from the Catholic community despite Unionist pogroms being the primary source of the disturbances during which 11,000 Catholics were forced out of their homes and workplaces in Belfast alone.

In August 1971, internment re-wound the clock to 1922.

In January 1972, Blood Sunday murders re-ignited the 1919 War of Independence.

From the River to the Sea.