Saturday, 4 April 2015

UK and US isolated in rejecting neutral venue trial proposal

[What follows is excerpted from a report by the Associated Press news agency published on this date in 1996:]

Lawyers representing the two Libyan men suspected of planting the Lockerbie bomb say they're ready to face trial -- but it must be in a neutral country.

And they say the suspects will appear voluntarily, without the need for extradition.

But so far it's a proposal which hasn't been taken up by any of the key players in the international investigation into Flight 103. (...)

The man leading the defence team for the two men is on a rare trip to London.

He says if the investigating countries -- the US, the UK and Scotland -- agree to a trial somewhere like The Hague, the suspects will turn up of their own free will.

Dr Ibrahim Legwell: “What we are proposing that the venue can be changed for a neutral country and that instead of the jury we have a panel of judges and what is going to come from our side is that I will come with them to stand for the trial voluntary, not as an extradition.”

Those representing the families of Lockerbie victims have backed the call for such a trial, saying at least the evidence would be brought out into the open.

The legal team acting for the men includes lawyers from each country involved in the events leading up to the explosion.

English lawyer Stephen Mitchell says the UK and the US are now isolated in rejecting the trial proposal.

Stephen Mitchell: “It will be accepted or rejected on the basis of political wills. When somebody wants to solve this problem it will be solved, is my view.”

1 comment:

  1. "...but it must be in a neutral country."

    Did it make much difference?
    It is easy to forget that the trial was not in Glasgow. It might as well have been.
    The three judges all Scottish.
    UK/Scotland with strong friendship with USA (and not exactly Libya), and primary investigative authority would be FBI (with strong political interest in the outcome). And the US Justice Department sitting in with the prosecution.

    No, apart from that nobody would be standing outside the courtroom with posters "Death to Megrahi", the whereabouts did make no difference at all.

    This article, a comment on Koechler's work, describes it all very well: