[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]
Dignitaries and campaigners including Desmond Tutu have called for the Scottish Government to launch a public inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing.
In an open letter, some 24 signatories including relatives of the victims, such as Dr Jim Swire and Jean Berkley, today call for a full and open inquiry.
The letter questions recent moves by the Scottish Government “to abrogate its responsibility and pass the buck to London” in relation to calls for a public inquiry.
First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill have said that Scotland has neither the power nor the resources to hold an investigation.
The letter states: “When it came to granting compassionate release to Mr Megrahi, the Scottish Government was adamant that the matter fell under Scottish jurisdiction and would brook no interference in the nation’s affairs.
“When it comes to the establishment of an inquiry, why does Edinburgh appear so keen to abrogate its responsibility and pass the buck?
“One cannot have one’s cake and eat it. The excuse frequently offered is that a Scottish inquiry would not possess the requisite power of subpoena when it comes to requiring evidence to be produced.
“This same argument not only applies to Westminster but to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation also. In fact, the only body with the powers that Mr Salmond is looking for is the Security Council of the UN.
“In other words, given this, and the fact that the General Assembly appears to be reluctant to take the bull by the horns, it is down to individual nation states.
“The Scottish Government should not be allowed to shirk its duties and responsibilities to the bereaved and its electorate by expecting other, foreign, authorities to pick up the gauntlet.”
The letter, sent to ministers to coincide with the anniversary of Megrahi’s release, makes the point that Holyrood should be fully able to assess the details of what happened because the case was investigated by Scottish police, the trial was conducted under Scots law, and Megrahi was held in a Scottish prison and released on compassionate grounds by a Scottish minister.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “On the broader questions of inquiry, the Scottish Government does not doubt the safety of the conviction of Mr Megrahi. [Note by RB: Another instance of the SCCRC's conclusion that, on six grounds, the conviction might have been a miscarriage of justice, being blithely swept under the carpet.] Nevertheless, there remain concerns to some on the wider issues of the atrocity.
“The questions to be asked and answered in any such inquiry would be beyond the jurisdiction of Scots law and the remit of the Scottish Government, and such an inquiry would therefore need to be initiated by those with the required power and authority to deal with an issue, international in its nature.”
Scots back Salmond on US inquiry decision
Almost three-quarters of Scots believe First Minister Alex Salmond was correct to snub requests to appear before a US inquiry.
The SNP-commissioned YouGov poll of 1212 people showed 72% agreed they were right not to attend and said the Scottish Government is accountable to itself, not US politicians.
A total of 14% think lobbying by BP played a part in Megrahi’s release, while 54% agreed with the Scottish Government that he was released “solely in line with Scots law”.
And 76% said it was proper that the decision on whether to release Megrahi was made by the Scottish Justice Secretary, not a minister in the UK Government.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This poll demonstrates overwhelmingly that the people of Scotland believe that the Justice Secretary took the decision for the right reasons, that it was right for the Scottish Government and no one else to take the decision, and that it was right not to answer to a US Senate hearing on the issue.”
[The Scotsman publishes a long series of articles on the anniversary of Megrahi's release. The main one is tendentiously headlined "Freeing Megrahi 'will cost SNP the election'". It contains links to the other pieces and can be read here.]