Friday, 13 March 2015

Delaying tactics, errors and malpractices

[On this date in 2009, the International Progress Organization  issued a press release about a forthcoming article by Professor Hans Köchler, one of the United Nations observers at the Lockerbie trial. It reads as follows:]
"The Lockerbie Trial and the Rule of Law"
Criminal Justice in the Framework of International Power Politics

In an article for the forthcoming issue of the National Law School of India Review (NLSIR), the international observer appointed by the United Nations at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, Dr Hans Köchler, has summarized his evaluation of the handling of the Lockerbie case by the Scottish and British authorities.
In the article, written upon invitation by the Student Advocate Committee of the National Law School of India (Bangalore), Köchler deals with the delaying tactics and the apparent strategy of the political establishment and judicial authorities to cover up the errors and malpractices that have led to a situation in which, ten years after the beginning of the trial and seven years after the end of the first appeal proceedings, still no plausible explanation is (officially) available for the explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.
The article concludes with a quote from Köchler's keynote speech at the Law Awards of Scotland 2008, which highlights the dilemma of the new appeal proceedings that are eventually to begin in April 2009:
Whether those in public office like it or not, the Lockerbie trial has become a test case for the criminal justice system of Scotland. At the same time, it has become an exemplary case on a global scale - its handling will demonstrate whether a domestic system of criminal justice can resist the dictates of international power politics or simply becomes dysfunctional as soon as "supreme state interests" interfere with the imperatives of justice.

[RB: The full text of Professor Köchler’s important article can be read here.]

1 comment:

  1. If I'm reading Prof Kochler correctly, he seems to be expressing a belief, or at least a suspicion, that Megrahi's original defence team colluded with the Crown and acquiesced in their client's conviction.

    Surprise has been expressed that a more heavyweight team of criminal defence specialists wasn't engaged to represent Megrahi in the first place. Bill Taylor's extraordinary lack of rigour in cross-examination has been remarked on by a number of commentators - in particular the virtual free pass he gave to Tony Gauci. There are other stories which might suggest this was less than deliberate though, such as getting pages of notes mixed up. Hundreds of defence witnesses listed, and then only three were called. What happened to the special defence of incrimination?

    Some have suggested that the case was so threadbare the defence thought they didn't really need to try - if the prosecution hadn't made its case, why stir things up any further? Others have suggested more recently (as a result of things apparently said by members of the defence team) that the team believed its client to be guilty.

    It's all extremely peculiar, but if I were on trial on a serious criminal charge I have to say I'd be looking for a better performance than that from those I entrusted to represent me in court.