Saturday, 29 October 2016

Mandela breaks Lockerbie trial impasse

[On this date in 1997 a cartoon by South Africa’s leading political cartoonist, Zapiro, was published in The Sowetan. The text accompanying the cartoon on Zapiro's website reads as follows:]

Mandela backs a neutral country as venue for the trial of Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The verdict in the protracted Lockerbie trial was a landmark in international law and a tribute to the diplomacy of Nelson Mandela, who played a leading role in bringing about the trial. It was largely through Mandela's ability to influence both Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on the one hand, and the British government on the other, that the unprecedented solution of trying the two Lockerbie suspects in a neutral country, the Netherlands, was agreed upon. Mandela broke an impasse, which arose because Britain, and the US, were insisting on a trial in either of their countries, while Gaddafi refused to hand over the suspects to them.

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