[Today's edition of the Sunday Express has a report headlined Lockerbie: you must charge them all which quotes extensively from the FBI's head of the Lockerbie investigation, Richard Marquise. It reads in part:]
The US special agent who led the Lockerbie probe yesterday demanded Scottish authorities prosecute every Libyan official connected to the bombing – and not offer any deals just to capture Colonel Gaddafi.
Former FBI investigator Richard Marquise appealed to the Crown Office not to allow any high-ranking member of the regime to escape justice as a compromise for ensuring a conviction against the dictator.
While Prime Minster David Cameron has insisted Libyans defecting to Britain will not be granted diplomatic immunity, Mr Marquise said he fears charges could be waved if they help secure a showpiece trial. (...)
Speaking to the Sunday Express from Arlington, Virginia, Mr Marquise said: “In terms of Lockerbie, we know who was involved at the lower levels, but I’d like to know who was involved in the higher levels, how high up it went.
“We know there are more people who should be brought to justice. If Moussa Koussa, or anyone else with these facts, is going to come forward with documentary evidence so that we could make a case, then certainly all lower level officials should be prosecuted as well.
“Gaddafi has a lot to answer for which is one of the reasons he is staying put. He does not want to answer anything.
“Even if he was killed there are others in his administration that should be brought to justice.”
Mr Marquise said he believes the bombing was in retaliation for a 1986 US raid in Tripoli, which killed Gaddafi’s daughter.
He added: “Let’s say Gaddafi told Koussa, ‘I’d like something to happen,’ and Koussa orchestrated it. We can speculate and believe that it probably went to the highest level, but there is no evidence that I know of that could be brought to court.
“If I was in Moussa Koussa’s shoes I would want to say, ‘This was ordered by Gaddafi, I have proof and I can help. But Gaddafi’s got to be the only person who ends up being prosecuted.’
“It’s one of those catch-22 situations for him because I understand he’s not been granted immunity. So in his shoes, I wouldn’t say anything because I would be implicating myself.” (...)
[Attorney] Frank Duggan, president of the [US relatives' group] Victims of Pan Am 103, yesterday warned UK officials from striking any deals with defectors, particularly given the controversy still lingering over Megrahi’s release.
He said: “I think this is a golden opportunity. Moussa Koussa knows who ordered the bombing of that plane. He knows who made the bomb, he knows who paid for the bomb, he knows how it was transported to Malta, he knows how it was placed in the plane.
“It wasn’t just Megrahi – obviously other people were involved. Everybody has to account for their role. Now they could have proof. Now they could have that proof on a silver platter.”
[More from Mr Marquise can found in this report in Scotland on Sunday. A leader in the same newspaper headed "Moral maze" contains the following:]
One can only assume that the Lockerbie bombing is one of the issues being discussed. And from a Scottish point of view there is a sense of deja vu here. This is not the first time a British prime minister may have been tempted to use Scottish justice as a bargaining chip in his handling of Libya. Tony Blair's infamous "deal in the desert" raised the prospect of release for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi in exchange for Gaddafi's assistance in the war against terror, plus some lucrative oil deals.
Now Cameron may be considering what price he is willing to pay - perhaps in immunity from prosecution - for useful information. This is a genuine moral dilemma. Yes, Koussa may well have had a role in the commission of a number of terrorist acts, from the arming of the IRA to Lockerbie in 1988 and the downing of a French airliner in 1989. (...)
An inconvenient truth needs to be mentioned here. The prime minister should be reminded that in the conduct of the criminal investigation into the Lockerbie bombing - the largest criminal act committed on British soil - he has no jurisdiction. All such decisions rest with the Crown Office, headed by the Lord Advocate, who as Scotland's senior prosecutor is appointed by the First Minister. That is not to say the relentless pursuit of every scrap of evidence on Lockerbie must take precedence over all other concerns, including the saving of lives in Libya and the future of the so-called Arab Spring in the Middle East.
But deals cannot be brokered behind closed doors in an MI6 safe house.
The strict rules surrounding our judicial system exist for a reason, and the Government has been quick to point out that as yet no evidence implicating Koussa in mass murder or terrorism exists. But the government has to position itself now to be ready to act correctly if such evidence emerges. If the Tripoli regime collapses, with many of its senior figures switching to the rebels' side, it is conceivable that an enormous amount of new evidence could become available.
Yes, there is such a thing as realpolitik and there is a difficlut balance between saving lives now and addressing issues in the past. But should evidence against Koussa emerge it would be outrageous if he should escape prosecution. No deals should be done with this man.
[The same newspaper also features a long article by Dani Garavelli entitled Moussa Koussa's defection: Dancing with the devil?]