British troops opened fire on protesters participating in an unauthorized march in Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry, on January 30, 1972.
In a statement following the decision by Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service to charge one former British soldier with the murder of civilians on Bloody Sunday in 1972, the Ministry said the British government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues.
"In respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction".
Gavin Williamson confirmed the Ministry of Defence would support "soldier F" and pay the legal costs.
Over time, though, the victims' families got organized, campaigned for justice and eventually, more than 25 years after the killings, when a peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland, the British government committed to a full-scale inquiry.
The UK Ministry of Defence has said its serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution.
"In these circumstances the evidential test for prosecution is not met".
Former members of the support company of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment are facing possible charges from the Public Prosecution Service.
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On 30 January 1972 troops fired on unarmed protesters in a civil rights march in Derry, also known as Londonderry, killing 13 people and wounding 15.
Although rioting had become routine for Derry's youth, McCann describes the impact of Bloody Sunday as a game-changer in Northern Ireland.
Reflecting on his meeting with the families, the director added: "I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely hard day for many of them".
The decisions announced today relate only to allegations of criminal conduct on Bloody Sunday itself.
A short internal military inquiry shortly after Bloody Sunday, known as the Widgery Report, concluded the soldiers had done nothing wrong. "However, that does not mean that we do not have compassion for all those who are affected by our decisions".
The then UK Prime Minister David Cameron later apologised for the killings in the House of Commons, in a historic move which many former servicemen in the Bogside that day believed exonerated them.
He said the NI PPS had undertaken its statutory responsibility in relation to the case "with absolute integrity and impartiality, without fear or favour".
Those killed on Bloody Sunday were John "Jackie" Duddy, 17, Michael Kelly, 17, Hugh Gilmour, 17, John Young, 17, Kevin McElhinney, 17, Gerard Donaghy, 17, William Nash, 19, Michael McDaid, 20, James "Jim" Wray, 22, William McKinney, 26, Patrick Doherty, 31, Gerard McKinney, 35, and Bernard "Barney" McGuigan, 41.