Monday, 14 September 2009

An open letter to the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations

“Justice must prevail beyond all other considerations. Beyond politics, convictions, religion, even compassion (and certainly expedience), regardless of one's sympathies, JUSTICE must be the banner that unites us. This is more than pity for a dying man, this is a demand for justice.” (Danton de Vouvray)

In light of the abandonment of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s second appeal against conviction for the bombing of Pan American flight 103 over Lockerbie with the loss of 270 people, both passengers and citizens of Lockerbie, on the twenty-first of December nineteen eighty-eight, we, the undersigned, hereby formally submit that the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation institute a full public inquiry, under the provisions of Article 22 of its Charter, into:

• the investigation of the destruction of the aircraft,
• the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the event conducted in 1991,
• the subsequent trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifa at Camp van Zeist
• both of Mr al-Megrahi’s appeals and the circumstances surrounding the dropping of his second appeal.

We believe that a United Nations public inquiry into the above should call witnesses who have been both directly and indirectly involved to give testimony and account for their actions, decisions and opinions relating to these events. Amongst others, such an inquiry ought ideally to draw on individuals from:

• Dumfries and Galloway Police and other UK police forces involved in the investigation,
• the security services and other governmental agencies of nations involved either at first hand or tangentially in the investigation,
• members of the legislatures of nations involved either at first hand or tangentially in the investigation,
• the Scottish Judiciary,
• the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission,
• legal counsel involved in the Zeist trial and subsequent appeals, to the extent permitted by legal professional privilege,
• witnesses from the original Zeist trial list, both those who testified and those who were on the list but not called to testify,
• forensic scientists involved in the investigation (particularly from the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, UK),
• and informed experts whose independent research has led them to develop alternative theories concerning the destruction of the aircraft.

Whilst we are aware that, under the terms of Article 22 of the Charter, a United Nations General Assembly inquiry does not possess within its gift the power to subpoena witnesses to testify, we nevertheless feel that such an initiative could make a valuable and highly significant contribution towards removing many of the deep misgivings which persist in lingering over this tragedy.

Now that Mr al-Megrahi has dropped his second appeal and been repatriated to Libya to spend what time is left to him with his family, one of the last best hopes that existed to establish the facts of this disputed and sorry event once and for all has evaporated. Whether or not he is guilty, the alleged abuse of Maltese sovereignty by foreign investigators employing illegal wire-taps, the question mark over the reputation of Luqa airport, the break-in to Heathrow airside shortly prior to Pan Am 103’s fateful departure, in addition to allegations of:

• tampering with material evidence,
• financial and other inducements in order to secure desired testimony,
• harassment of potential witnesses to dissuade them from coming forward at the Zeist trial,
• the with-holding of evidence from the defence counsel at Zeist,
• political obfuscation and serious economies with the truth

have dogged this affair from the very outset and cast considerable doubt over the safety of the Zeist verdict. We now appeal to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which we consider to be an eminently suitable platform under the circumstances given the international nature of events, to take the appropriate steps to set the record straight.

Although we are also fully cognisant that further investigation of this tragic occurrence over twenty years ago will yet again bring pain to the victims’ families and friends, we are confident that they too will wish to see matters concluded beyond reasonable doubt. We do this in the hope of restoring the stature of justice following what has been described as being: ‘a spectacular miscarriage of justice’ (Professor Hans Köchler, International Observer appointed by the United Nations for the trail at Camp van Zeist). Our faith in justice ultimately prevailing now lies in the hands of the United Nations.


Mr John Ashton
(Co-author of Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie).

Mrs Jean Berkley
(Co-ordinator UK Families Flight 103 and mother of Alistair Berkley: PA103 victim).

Professor Robert Black QC
(Commonly referred to as the Architect of the Camp van Zeist Trial).

Professor Noam Chomsky
(Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Mr Tam Dalyell
(Member of Parliament: 1962 – 2005, Father of the House: 2001 – 2005).

Mr Ian Ferguson
(Co-author of Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie).

Mr Robert Forrester
(Justice for Megrahi Campaign committee member).

Mr Ian Hislop
(Editor of Private Eye: one of the UK’s most highly regarded journals of political comment).

Father Pat Keegans
(Lockerbie Parish Priest at the time of the bombing of Pan Am 103).

Mr Iain McKie
(Retired Police Superintendent and justice campaigner).

Heather Mills
(Reporter for Private Eye specialising in matters relating to Pan Am flight 103).

Denis Phipps
(Aviation security expert).

Mr Steven Raeburn
(Editor of The Firm, one of Scotland’s foremost legal journals).

Doctor Jim Swire
(Justice campaigner. Dr Swire’s daughter, Flora, was killed in the Pan Am 103 incident).

Mr Abdullah Swissy
(Former President of the Libyan Students’ Union in Scotland and Libyan Student Affairs of the Libyan Students’ Union, UK Branch).

Sir Teddy Taylor
(Former Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Member of Parliament from 1964 to 2005).

Mr Bob Watts
(Businessman and Justice for Megrahi committee member).


  1. I am on the list of retrospective signatories to the letter addressed to the President of the UN General Assembly.

    Patrick Haseldine
    (HM Diplomatic Service (Retired))

  2. great, fantastic, super !

  3. Dear Professor Black,

    I read in the Herald recently that you're trying to help get a UN inquiry into the Lockerbie case. There's also a petition on the 10 Downing Street website asking the Prime Minister to set up an inquiry into it.

    I just wondered whether you think a petition for an inquiry established by the UK government will help by increasing the pressure on the British government, or whether the British government might see an inquiry they controlled as preferable to one established by the UN General Assembly, which the British government couldn't control? Or whether they might use it to try to say there was no need for a UN inquiry? Or would one have no effect on the other? Just wondered and thought if someone knew it'd be you,

    All the best,

  4. P.S If there's any online petition to back this letter i'll certainly sign it and forward it

  5. I particularly loved the bit calling for a UN enquiry into "harassment of potential witnesses to dissuade them from coming forward at the Zeist trial".

    Is this a reference to the claims of professional fabricator "Major-General Ret'd." Oswald Le Winter and his mate Lester Coleman who featured in the spoof documentary "The Maltese Double Cross" and it's spin-off "Cover-up of Convenience"?

  6. No response! Clearly some people will put their names to anything.

    Who were the "potential witnesses who were harassed to dissuade them from coming forward? I think we ought to be told!