[What follows is excerpted from an article published on 19 February in Holyrood magazine based on an interview with Professor Alan Miller, outgoing chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission:]
Miller’s appointment in November 2007 came at a time when any discussion around human rights seemed to be entangled with criminal justice. The decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009 – one that the commission supported very publicly – was perhaps the most emphatic example of that.
“As chair of the European Network [of National Human Rights Institutions] and vice chair of the global network, I am constantly in circulation and Scotland’s stock rose enormously around the world as a result of that decision,” claims Miller.
“Not everywhere in the world, but in a lot of places Scotland’s stock rose considerably – it was a tough but just decision… The debate was extremely undignified. I thought it brought out the best in Scotland and in the Scottish Government, and it resonated very well in the main around the world. I thought some of the opposition to the decision was very demeaning. It was certainly [Kenny] MacAskill’s finest moment.”