Monday, 24 August 2015

UK and US cave in over neutral venue Lockerbie trial

On this date in 1998 the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States, succumbing to international pressure, announced that they had reversed their stance on the matter of a "neutral venue" trial, such as I had proposed (and the Libyan Government, and the Libyan lawyer for Megrahi and Fhimah, had accepted) in January 1994.  In a letter of 24 August 1998 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the British and American Acting Permanent Representatives to the United Nations stated:

"....  in the interest of resolving this situation in a way which will allow justice to be done, our Governments are prepared, as an exceptional measure, to arrange for the two accused to be tried before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.  After close consultation with the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, we are pleased to confirm that the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has agreed to facilitate arrangements for such a court.  It would be a Scottish court and would follow normal Scots law and procedure in every respect except for the replacement of the jury by a panel of three Scottish High Court judges.  The Scottish rules of evidence and procedure, and all the guarantees of fair trial provided by the law Scotland, would apply."

The full text of the letter can be read here. A statement by the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, can be read here; and one by the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, can be read here.

1 comment:

  1. October Surprise