Help us bring IRA killers of British soldiers to justice
In 1971 three young off-duty soldiers were slain in cold-blood by IRA gunmen. No-one has ever faced trial for their murder.
The men believed to be responsible are reported to be living freely in the Republic of Ireland. Their identities are known to the authorities. There has only ever been one attempt to extradite one of the men. Ireland refused the request on the grounds that the murders were “political not criminal”. No action has been taken since. Justice has slipped through the net of the peace process.
The soldiers served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers. The Regiment's motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity).
These soldiers’ killers should not walk free. Help us bring them to justice.
As part of the peace-process in Northern Ireland, more British soldiers are being singled out for prosecution than terrorists.
It has been reported that the Police Service of Northern Ireland will be investigating up to 1,000 retired soldiers who were involved in ‘fatal incidents’ while battling terrorism in Northern Ireland. This means “UK veterans being investigated as potential murder or manslaughter suspects over actions they took decades ago at the height of the IRA’s terrorist campaign”.
Conversely, our government has done next to nothing to bring the murderers of these young men, who pledged to serve their country, to justice. Indeed, to our shame, this is only one example of IRA killers of our security forces being allowed to walk free. Meanwhile, our veterans face an uncertain future of being dragged through the courts for doing their jobs and protecting the public. There can be no lasting peace unless the scales of justice are balanced.
If the authorities will not bring the killers to justice, then their family and loved ones will act to do so instead. That is why they have set up the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice. Meanwhile, we hope our actions will wake-up our Government to the fact that it must do more to protect our veterans from unjust witch-hunts rather than grant terrorists amnesty from prosecution.
On the 10th of March 1971 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, three young Scottish soldiers were murdered in cold blood. They were off-duty and, like any other boys their age, had spent the afternoon drinking in local bars. Three IRA terrorists, posing as welcoming locals and fellow drinkers, befriended them, lured them away and into their car with the promise of a party and meeting some girls. Instead, the boys were shot in the head and left by the side of the road. Their bodies were found by three young children out playing.
The boys were Fusilier Dougald McCaughey (23), Fusilier John McCaig (17) and Fusilier Joseph McCaig (18). John and Joseph were brothers. They were the first soldiers to be killed off-duty during the Troubles after the IRA decided to escalate its atrocities by murdering off-duty soldiers. They deserve justice. Instead, their killers have spent the intervening years enjoying their freedom in Ireland without fear of being prosecuted.
Who we are and what we are raising funds to do
Dougald, John and Joe’s family and loved ones have set-up the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice to honour their memory and bring their killers to justice.
Your support will, where possible, be used to:
- Request and obtain the evidence and intelligence files from the UK authorities – using legal action if necessary – that identify the killers. (We understand from a police report that the authorities have this information but, so far, have not shared it). At the very least, the boys’ families and loved ones, as well as the general-public, deserve to know who was responsible for their murders.
- Once identified, prepare and file submissions to the relevant authorities calling for the prosecution services to arrest and charge the killers with the boys’ murder and any other related terrorist offences.
- If the state is unable or unwilling to act, take any necessary and appropriate private action including a private criminal or civil prosecution led by the families themselves to bring the killers to justice.
At this stage, by their very nature, it is impossible to know the final cost of these actions. They could be £100,000 or above if a private action is required. Hitting our initial target of £10,000 will give us the foundation we need to get started.
Why is this case important?
Not only is this case important to the boys’ families and loved ones, it is of significant public importance.
For the families and loved ones, this case offers:
- Truth: They want to identify the killers and ensure that their names and what they did are placed on the public record; not kept secret in government archives.
- Justice: They want a judicial record of guilt/liability against the killers.
- Non-recurrence: If terrorists aren’t brought to justice, even many years after their crimes, then what is to deter today’s would-be terrorists from committing similar atrocities? Too often our government and its politics has allowed terrorists to walk free or granted them amnesties. What message does this send? We must be a country that sends the message that there is no safe-haven from justice – however long it takes. If our Government won’t pursue them, then victims of terrorism will do so themselves.
For the general-public, this case could not be more timely. It is a scandal that UK veterans of our armed-forces are being pursued for actions they took under orders and in the fight against terrorism. We see this not only in Northern Ireland, but in Iraq and Afghanistan.
All the while, IRA terrorists have been granted effective amnesties and allowed to live out their days without fear of prosecution. This discrimination must end and the scales of justice rebalanced. There can be no peace without justice and no justice without truth. It should be a matter of pride to our Government, the public and our armed forces that these soldiers’ killers are held to account for their crimes.
Ultimately, all the boys’ families and loved ones want to know is the truth of who was responsible for their murder and, in knowing, the ability to bring the killers to justice. In doing so, they may find some peace in knowing that they have honoured their memory.
Our Legal Team
We are represented by McCue & Partners LLP, the UK's expert in counter-terror litigation, who have represented thousands of victims of terrorism worldwide in cases against the likes of the Real IRA, HAMAS and Muammar al-Gaddafi. The Firm represented the families of the victims of the 1998 bombing of Omagh by the Real IRA, in ground-breaking and successful civil proceedings against the bombers and the terrorist organisation itself. It was the first time that victims had brought a private prosecution against the terrorists when the state had failed or been unable to act.
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