[What follows is a report from the United Nations by the Reuters news agency dated 30 September 1997:]
Libya called on the General Assembly on Tuesday to intervene in the Lockerbie affair to enable two Libyans charged with bombing an airliner over Scotland in 1988 to be tried in a country other than Britain or the United States.
Referring to Britain and the United States, Libyan UN representative Abuzed Dorda said: “How can anyone expect the Security Council to solve the problem when our adversaries are both permanent members of the council and possess the veto power? In other words, they are the judge and the jury.”
He said those countries “know, more than anybody else, that Libya has nothing to do at all with this airplane and the tragic incident.” Libya had “no problem with the Security Council and the Security Council has no problem with us,” he said.
If the United States and Britain had accepted proposals made by various regional and international organizations for resolving the problem, the council “would not have hesitated for one moment to accept them,” he added.
Dorda told Assembly delegates: “My country calls on you to intervene so that we can reach a peaceful solution to this dispute, one that would accelerate the holding of the trial for the two suspects before a fair and just court, in a climate free of prior condemnation ... in any place to be agreed upon or to be decided by the Security Council.”
He noted that, when the council held a ministerial-level meeting last week on the situation in Africa, the Lockerbie issue was raise by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, as OAU chairman; by OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim; as well as by foreign ministers.
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who took part in the council meeting, said the only place the suspects could face trial under Scottish law was in Scotland. “There is no legal authority in the law of the Netherlands for a court of another jurisdiction to sit in The Hague,” he said. [RB: Less than one year later, of course, the governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom supplied the appropriate legal authority for a Scottish court to sit in the Netherlands.]
Replying to Dorda at the end of Wednesday's Assembly session, British UN representative Sir John Weston repeated an offer for observers from the Arab League, the OAU or any other such body to attend a trial held in Scotland, to monitor its impartiality.
“Additional facilities would also be provided, including daily access to the accused if the later so wished,” he said.
“It remains for the Libyan government to meet its responsibilities to abide by the council's decisions in full,” Weston added.
[RB: The full text of Ambassador Dorda’s UN speech can be found here. It is well worth reading.]