Thursday, 24 November 2011

Libya may investigate Lockerbie

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Scotsman.  It reads as follows:]

The new Libyan government may run its own investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, once unseen documents emerge, the country’s interior minister said yesterday.

The ousting of Muammar al-Gaddafi has presented an opportunity to bring to light thousands of documents lying in the coffers of the institutions of the former regime.

The papers may contain evidence that could finally bring to justice those responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, an atrocity in which 270 people died.

Fawzi Abdul Aal, appointed to the role of interior minister on Tuesday, said: “If there are new documents on Lockerbie, we will start an internal investigation. It may be possible to re-open the case and show the truth. My desire is to show the truth.”

However, Mr Aal refused to commit to making any documentation public.

“This is a complicated issue … the decision of whether to reveal the documents must come from the Cabinet,” he said. “This is an issue that affects America and Britain, and Scotland, and the decision must come from other powers, not just the ministry.”

There were conflicting reports yesterday that Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is thought to have been behind the Lockerbie bombing, had been captured.

The Libyan Transitional Council announced this week that rebel brigades had captured Senussi in southern Libya.

But members of the local brigades cast doubt on the announcement. “We are in the area where he is, we are searching house-to-house but he has not yet been found,” said one fighter.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in Tripoli yesterday he did not believe Senussi had been captured.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, thought to have been recruited by Senussi, was jailed for the atrocity in 2001 but was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being given three months to live. He is still alive.


  1. Prof B, I'd like to know your take on this business in case I have it wrong.

    The reason the NTC are known by that title is, as far as I am aware, because they are not an elected government. Wasn't the whole point of "ousting" (or, rather, executing) Gaddafi about bringing to Libya this wonderful thing democracy? So how could this ICC prosecutor claim yesterday that they have "the authority" to deal with Saif Gaddafi. The NTC is made up of "the Rebels" the West assisted to get rid of Gaddafi: they are all self-appointed without a democratic mandate from that group the Western media frequently mentioned during the conflict, "the people of Libya". Surely the first priority is for the NTC to seek a democratic mandate before they start on anything else. Yet the West seems unconcerned.

    This is from Reuters yesterday.

    " Luis Moreno-Ocampo's remarks make it more likely Saif al-Islam will be tried by a Libyan court, where he faces the death penalty, even though the final decision lies with ICC judges rather than Moreno-Ocampo himself.

    Moreno-Ocampo said he did not need to know that a Libyan trial would be fully fair, he simply wanted to be sure that it would not be a whitewash for Saif al-Islam, whom the ICC has indicted for crimes against humanity.

    "My standard, the standard of the ICC, is that it has to be a judicial process that is not organized to shield the suspect. That's it, that's it," Moreno-Ocampo told reporters during a visit to Tripoli following Saif al-Islam's weekend capture."

    I find it bizarre that Moreno-Ocampo made such statements and that it isn't important to him whether Saif Gaddafi's trial is "fair". Whatever his crimes Gaddafi Junior was a senior figure in negotiations with the UK over Gaddafi and he will have information about deals done over Megrahi and the truth about Lockerbie. Why would Moreno-Ocampo be so indifferent about that?

  2. ***Apologies: penultimate sentence should say:

    "Whatever his crimes Gaddafi Junior was a senior figure in negotiations with the UK over Megrahi and trade deals and he will have information about deals done over Megrahi and perhaps the truth about Lockerbie."

  3. Jo, I'm afraid that a state doesn't have to be a democracy before its government is recognised in international law or by the United Nations (and the ICC is, of course, a UN creation). The test is whether it's in control of the country, not whether it has democratic credentials. Many UN member states are not democracies.

    What is very worrying is that Moreno Ocampo seems not to be interested in whether Saif can get a fair trial in Libya, but only in establishing that any proceedings are "not organized to shield the suspect". That is an utterly disgraceful sentiment to be expressed by any prosecutor.

  4. Don't expect anything making sense justice-wise from the ICC construction.

    Ever since I heard that the prosecutor's material against Milosevic filled 500,000 pages I realized that it was a complete farce.

    Hans Koechler has some considerations here.

    We have ongoing wars in the middle east with tens of millions of people affected, millions of violent civilian deaths and vast reports of war crimes.

    So, enjoy the list of people who qualify to get an ICC case against them. See something common for all of them?

    No, you didn't see "African ICC cases". This is ALL cases.

    And this is our world's "ICC". You couldn't make this up.

  5. Thank you Prof B, I thought it was just me! I couldn't believe he had expressed indifference about the trial being fair.

    On the other stuff, I understand that not all states are democracies but I very much recall the song and dance made by the West about Libya becoming one after the dirty stuff was over. Hence the naming of the Rebels, meantime, as the National Transitional Council pre elections. The West appear to have forgotten the election part. These guys are, if you look at Libya from the West's eyes, there by the same route as Gaddafi was, via a coup, only the Rebels' coup had Western firepower helping them. But a government they aint.

  6. This is on CNN from Oct 22.

    "Mahmoud Jibril, chairman of the National Transitional Council executive board, said elections "should be within a period of eight months, maximum." He spoke at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

    The first vote will be for a National Congress that will draft a constitution. After that, parliamentary and presidential elections will be held."

    So why isn't the UK pushing them on that and why are the NTC, who do not have a mandate, being allowed to adopt the authority of a government when they are not elected?

  7. SM, thanks for those links. I read the Hans Koechler statement about the ICC. Depressing reading.


    Algebra / mathematic set theory: 1988 + PanAm 103 - Libya + Moammar Gadhafi - (Abdelbaset Al Megrahi) - Tony Gauci + MaltaAir KM-180 (Toshiba radio recorder + MEBO MST-13 timer) - Frankfurt + Heathrow = Lockerbie - (IRAN + PLO/GC + Syra ) + (- Moussa Koussa - Abdullah al Senussi - (SCCRC) = 0 ... Who was it really ???
    Algebra / Mengenlehre : 1988 + PanAm 103- Libya + Moammar Gadhafi - (Abdelbaset Al Megrahi) - Tony Gauci-+ MaltaAir KM-180- (Toshiba Radiorecorder + MEBO MST-13 Timer) - Frankfurt + Heathrow = Lockerbie - (IRAN + PLO/GC + Syria) + (- Moussa Koussa - Abdullah al Senussi - (SCCRC) = 0 ... Wer war es wirklich ???

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier MEBO LTD. Switzerland. URL:

  9. Corrupt CIA officials, allowed the bombing of Pan Am 103 to proceed, because Charles McKee knew too much about "Operation Ringwind"

  10. INteresting to see so much pressure (rightly) on Egypt to get elections done and dusted. The main source of the pressure? That well know bastion of democracy, the United States of America.

    No such pressure on the NTC in Libya to hold elections tho, eh? Wonder why that is.

  11. {MEBO-statements}\{nonsense, untruths or at best incomprehensible babble} = {Ø}