Sunday, 6 March 2016

Lawman's Lockerbie mission

[This is the headline over a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2000. It reads as follows:]

Scotland's senior law officer has continued his efforts to reassure members of families of Lockerbie victims in the United States over the trial of two Libyans accused of the bombing.

Colin Boyd QC, the Lord Advocate, is in Washington, where he addressed 20 families in the Office for the Victims of Crime. He is going on to meet US Attorney General Janet Reno in the Justice Department.

He will be outlining to her the protocol and practice for the trial , which is due to start at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands on 3 May.

The purpose of his visit is to reassure the families that last month's resignation of the previous Lord Advocate, Lord Hardie, will not affect the prosecution.

Over the weekend he spoke to 50 families in Boston, Massachusets with the same message.  

Mr Boyd got a positive response from the president of the US families group, George Williams:

"From what I understand Colin Boyd was doing all the nuts and bolts to begin with, and that Lord Hardie was the head honcho but he was the supervisor.

"We feel that they haven't lost anything serious by losing Lord Hardie. We wish he hadn't gone, but we feel he's been replaced admirably."

Earlier, the United Nations said it had no plans to publish a controversial secret letter from its Secretary General Kofi Annan to the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

The document was written last year shortly before the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing were extradited to the Netherlands.

US President Bill Clinton has been sent an appeal from American relatives of those who died on Pan Am 103 urging him to put pressure on the UN to release the letter.

Some US relatives have claimed it contains details of a secret deal with Libya and they have written to President Clinton.

Bob Monetti, of US Families of Victims of Pan Am 103, said they want to see what is in the letter.

"It's incredibly bizarre for everybody to assure us that the letter means nothing and yet not to show it to us," he said.

Mr Boyd said he had seen the letter and would have no problems if it was published.

The contents of the secret UN letter would not prejudice the trial of the Libyans, due to start on 3 May.  

"I have seen the letter in the past few days, together with the annexe which is referred to in it," he said.

"Neither the letter nor the annexe in any way inhibits my responsibility, which is to prosecute and bring evidence in the case.

"I told the relatives that if it were to be published I would have no difficulty at all with that."

However, a spokesman for the UN secretary general told BBC Scotland that the letter was a private communication between Kofi Annan and a head of state and would not be made public.

No comments:

Post a Comment