Wanted: Legality - Reward: Justice.

Since April 1992, the people of Libya have suffered, deprieved of their human rights, as the UN-sanctions were put in effect throughout 7 long years. Since August 1998 the sanctions have been suspended, but not removed. A whole nation was and still is made responsible for the crash of Pan Am 103, just like that. Without any verdict. How can such injustice be assumed valid legality ? And since when does the UN suddenly support the principle of collective punishment ?
HAS LAW ANYTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE ? You might be very surprised to find the answer to that question...
But before we go into the legal explenations of the Lockerbie Crisis, you need to understand a little about international criminal law, and how it is practised:

Overview and quick-menu - press to go to section:
  • International Criminal Law
  • Legalities of the Lockerbie Crisis
  • Int. crim. law ressources
  • Extradition of Libyan suspects
  • UN Libyan sanctions ressources
  • Impact of UN sanctions
  • International Court of Justice - The Case
  • International Court of Justice - The Verdict 1998
  • Lobbying for Lockerbie: latest steps
  • American views incl. Helms/Burton Law
  • British/Scottish views
  • Adresses of Libyan UN missions

  • International Criminal Law and international sanctions

    International Law is mainly written in the form of treaties or charters. International Law does not deal with individuals, only relations between states. The UN Charter is a part of International Law. How then can the UN Security Council evoke any sanctions against Libysn suspects al-Megrahi and Fhima ? They aren't. By making the issue of the denied extradition of the two Libyan nationals to USA or UK a case for breaking international peace and security, the UN Security Council took the case away from international criminal proceedings into the hands of International Law.

    Never before in legal history has anyone used the sanction-weapon as a legal tool for use in international criminal law. Never before has a country punished another country for something, the second countries nationals MAY or MAY NOT have done. 5 million innocent people, men, women, children, are being punished and deprived of their human rights, year after year. Where is the voice of the international community ? The UN-sanctions against Libya can be compared with genocide. A legal holocaust. It is nothing compared to the situation in Iraq, yet 5 million people are sitting hostages under the agreement of international law.

    My major academic paper in International Criminal Law is an analysis of the problem of the UN Security Council interferring with the procedures of International Criminal Law. If you like to know about the rules and legalities in the legal aftermath of the crash of Pan Am 103, then this is the place to start:

    Or maybe you want to know more about international criminal law in general ? The leading authority on this subject in the world is an Arab. Dr.Cherif Bassiouni is THE intern. criminal legal expert. He has written a number of books. The ones International Criminal Law and Aut Dedere Aut Judicare are the easiest to understand and give a good basic knowledge of international criminal law. His books carry many references and comments to the Lockerbie Crisis: Since the crash of Pan Am 103 and the rise of the Lockerbie Crisis, the legal issues of the Libyan question of refusal of extradition has arousen manny discussions in the legal world. International Criminal Law has never been the same....Not surprisingly, it is specially in the USA thet the discussion of Libya's refusal of extradition has become an important legal topic. Many students in law schools and college have been researching and studying the Lockerbie Crisis for the last 5 or 6 years. To students in the USA it has been difficult to explain and understand the problem of politic vs. legality - but law is law, even in the US - and they turn out to be very surprised:
  • Example of law school examination in the USA in the topic: the Lockerbie Crisis (fall/autumn 1997)
  • Example of "resolution" against Libyan sanctions from American Students Model UN-conference 1997

  • Extradition

    USA and UK want the two Libyan suspects extradited from Libya for legal proceedings in the USA or UK. Well, legally they can ask Libya to extradite. But legally Libya had the sovereign right to refuse extradition of nationals, and rather forward legal proceedings inside Libya. This principle is called Aut Dedere Aut Judicare , meaning Either Surrender or Prosecute. That legal principle is a part of Jus Cogens , meaning international recognized and followed legal rule. Libya was not refusing the extradition of their own nationals just for fun or bad taste. They only did, what everybody else is doing, and has the right to do. Including USA and UK or any other country. There is at present not a single state in this world, that surrenders nationals for prosecution outside their territory as a general rule of law!
    So why did Libya have to ?

    The Libyan citizens Fhima and al-Megrahi would not get any fair trial if surrendered to USA or UK, one could say. During the legal aftermath of the criminal investigation following the crash of pan Am 103, both USA and UK have been playing prosecutor, judge and jury at the same time. Of course, someone might say, the 2 Libyans would not get any fair trial in Libya, too. A solution would be to surrender them for trial in another, 3rd party-state, neutral in the conflict. But USA and UK did not accept this idea for almost 7 years, not even with a Scottish jury and judge. That's why they invented international economic sanctions as a way to force about extradition.

    Surrender, not extradition ?

    In August 1998, US and UK forgot all about the extradition claim and asked Libya to "surrender" the suspects for trial in the Netherlands. There is a very big legal difference between surrender and extradite. In April 1999 the suspects were surrendered for trial in the Netherlands, a step based on agreement, not on law. The legal validity of such a claim or surrender is yet to be questioned.

    The families involved with the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 group made a back-up plan while waiting for the extradition. "If he doesn't turn them over very very very soon we will be pushing our U.S. Congress and our State Department and our president to harshly enforce the present sanctions," said VOPAF 103's president Williams. "And we will be asking them to consider other options, particularly an oil embargo." But what so far had looked to some like a clear case of stalling on Libya's part may not be that simple.

    "I certainly don't characterize it as Libyan delaying tactics," Al Rubin, professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University said, explaining that none of the involved nations have an extradition treaty with Libya and the U.N. resolution against Libya can be interpreted in more than one way. In refusing to cooperate, he noted, "the Libyans are saying to us exactly what we would say to them in the same situation."

    If pressure from the U.S. and Britain is able to force extradition of a Libyan national, this sets a dangerous precedent, according to Rubin. "It seems to me a lot of U.S. CIA agents would be in trouble. We do some unmentionable things like trying to assassinate Castro." The northern African nation will therefore continue to resist, he thinks. "I doubt very much that Libya will ever actually agree to extradite these people." And Libya never did: Fhima and Megrahi were surrendered, not extradited for trial in spring 1999!

    The steps towards the surrender of the Libyan suspects:

  • UN Security Council is ready to remove sanctions if Libya "surrenders" suspects (28. August 1998)
  • Scottish law professor about the setup for a neutral trial (August 1998)
  • Everything about the recent change of mind of the US/UK on a neutral trial (summer 1998)
  • The sacking of Ibrahim Legwell as head defence attorney 23/09/1998
  • Kofi Annan's journey to Libya December 1998
  • In-dept coverage of Lockerbie suspects handover, April 1999

    The UN sanctions

    Some of the sanctions against libya were totally absurde. For instance, Libya was not allowed access to the internet (threat to world peace!), and Libya had to close down all its airline-offices abroad, so people couldn't even make any national flight-reservations inside Libya, if they needed to travel to Libya. Take a look at the UN Security Resolutions making the sanctions work, and those UN resolutions calling for abolishment of the sanctions: Libyan UN-offices adresses at the end of this page!

    What exactly did the sanctions do to Libya and its people ?

  • By the way, did you know that starvation of civilians is against the law of United Nations ? Using sanctions against civilian population as warfare is a crime to humanity....

  • Read it from the archives of the UN and more! 

    Libya vs. UK+USA in front of the International Court of Justice

    As you (hopefully) might have read in the academical thesis on the subject from above, Libya presented its case in front of the International Court of Justice , short ICJ. Libya believed its case to fall into the legal context of the Montreal Convention . This conventions deals with criminal acts in connection with civil aviation, in case more than one state and its jurisdiction is involved. However the ICJ declined to impose provisional measures, as Libya wanted to. This happened in 1992, only a few days before the UN-sanctions came into action.
  • The Homepage of the ICJ

    In the above mentioned academical thesis, the author specifically deals with the reasons for Libya to invoke the powers of the ICJ, and the reasons for USA/UK not to invoke that kind of legal ways for finding a solution.
    The ICJ made on the 27/02/1998 a statement in its judgment as to whether it is Libya, that has the right to choose the Montreal Convention as a basis for a solution, or whether it is the USA/UK that are obliged to return to the Montreal Convention, and refrain from using international law, i.e. the Security Council.
    If the ICJ would see itself unfit to rule on such an important question in the eyes of international criminal law, then there
    isn't much else for it to do. I think that we in a few years will see a growing need for the ICJ to make such kind of preliminary decisions in order to clear the questions of international criminal law.

    However, the ICJ in its judgment 27/02/1998 carried Libya's point of view.
    The ICJ ruled, that Libya has the legal right to bring its case in front of the ICJ to clearify legal procedures as to extradition of their own nationals and that the ICJ sees itself fit to handle the question. Libya won the case at the ICj (27/02/1998)- click below to read more!

    Judgment, briefings and explenations of the ICJ-case between Libya and the UK/USA

    The judgment of the ICJ was followed by a big debate in the UN Security Council about the ongoing Lockerbie Crisis.  This happened on the 20th of march 1998. Relatives of victims from PA 103 attended the debate at the UN Security Council as visitors and talked to the press about their views. Jim Swire and D. Cohen, both relatives of victims, didn´t agree on what  should be done now. Libya received big support from all speakers at the debate, except from USA and UK.

    Everything about the UN SC-debate on the Lockerbie Crisis from 20th of March 1998

    Libya and the issue of sanctions - what has been done lately?

    Much has been done to find a solution in the case of UN vs. Libya. Lawyers, politicians, religious peoples, organizations, private persons....all have they somehow tried to find a way to abolish the UN sanctions, devide the facts from the frauds, and not forgetting justice for the victims of Pan Am 103 as well:

    What is the standpoint of the USA/UK in the legal case and in connection with the UN Security Council ?

    Take a look at some American statements: The USA is not satisfied with the the UN and its sanctions against Libya. So they invented national, American sanctions as well. Already during the Carter and Reagan-era national sanctions against Libya became part of American law. But not until after the 2nd Gulf War in 1992, the body of United Nations was used to promote American domestic politics on an international level, regarding Libya. Bush and Clinton followed up on that one. Most recent, there was the Helms/Burton Act pased on by the American Congress: British/Scottish views and discussions:
  • NEW: Official governmental site about Lockerbie/Pan Am 103, site maintained by UK Embassy in Washington D.C.
  • Statement of Scottish Crown Office regarding Libya's new case at the International Court of Justice in Haag, October 20th 1997
  • Scottish National Party supporting deal of neutral trial (14/04/98)
  • Common Hansard Debates and oral/written answers:

    British parliament discusses the crash of Pan Am 103 and the recent criminal, legal and political developments in the case.

  • Common Hansard Debate about Libyan UN-sanctions and Lockerbie 20/02/1997
  • Common Hansard Debate about evidence in Lockerbie Case 05/03/1997
  • Common Hansard Debate about Lockerbie 23/07/1997
  • Common Hansard Debate about the Lockerbie Crisis 07/11/1997
  • Common Hansard Debate about Lockerbie and dr. Swires Libyan visit 29/04/1998
  • Common Hansard Debate about Lockerbie Trial venue 21/07/1998
  • Common Hansard Debate about Lockerbie Trial 17+18/11/1998

  • List of adresses:

    We all know how to find information concerning the US, UK or Scotland. To get any information directly from Libya is not that easy. If you need to contact Libya about the impact of UN-sanction or other information, you might as well start with the direct source:
    Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 
  • Permanent Representative of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations 
  • 309-315 East 48th Street 
  • USA-New York, N.Y. 10017 
  • Telephone: 212-752-5775 
  • Telefax: 212-593-4787 
  • E-mail adress: lbyun@undp.org 
  • Present ambassador is Abuzeid Dourda
  • Homepage: http://www.undp.org/missions/libya/ 
    Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 
  • Permanent mission of the Great Libyan Arab Jamaheriya to the United nations in Switzerland 
  • Avenue Blanc 47 
  • CH-1202 Genève 
  • Téléphone : 959 89 00 
  • Télex : 412 377A lby ch 
  • Téléfax : 959 89 10 
    Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 
  • United Nations Information Centre in Libya 
  • Muzzafar Al Aftas 
  • Hay El-Andalous (2) 
  • P.O. Box 286 
  • -LY-Tripoli 
  • Tel: + 218 21 77885-70251 
  • Fax: + 218 21 3330856 

  • USA and UK say, that they use economical sanctions as weapons to fight international terrorism. But what is international terrorism ? And aren't sanctions that target innocent civilians also a form of international terrorism, even if they are based upon international law and politics ?

    Well, let's find out more about terrorism!