Friday, 4 November 2016

Steps on the path towards a neutral venue trial

[The following are two snippets published on this date in 1997 on the Libya: News and Views website:]

The head of the Arab League said on Sunday that Libya would never extradite two of its citizens to Britain or the United States for trial on charges of bombing a US airliner in 1988. Esmat Abdel-Meguid told a news conference on the sidelines of a symposium on the future of the Arab world [in Abu Dhabi] that Libya maintained its offer to let the two men stand trial in a neutral country but with Scottish judges. “Libya would not turn over its citizens because, under international law, it is not possible for one country to surrender its citizens to another country unless the two are bound by a mutual extradition agreement,” Abdel-Meguid said. [Reuter]

Libya has said it is impossible for two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to get a fair trial in Scotland although the Scottish justice system is fair. The Libyan Foreign Ministry said British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's invitation to the United Nations to send observers to Scotland to evaluate the Scottish legal system in action was a ploy to undermine other initiatives to solve the problem. “Libya does not doubt the fairness of the Scottish judiciary or its equity,” the Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued at the weekend and obtained from the official Libyan news agency JANA on Monday. “But...the campaign through the press and statements by officials in Britain and the United States has led to a prior condemnation of the two suspects, ruling out any possibility of a fair and just trial for them in Scotland,” it added. [Reuter]

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