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:
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:
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
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
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
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
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:
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
critical Canadian-American analysis of the UN sanctions against Libya
Official US report on Libyan sanctions
The Libyan Sanctions Regulations, overview by US
Madeline Albright wants tougher sanctions
Clinton supporting decision to carry on Libyan
American UN ambassador Richardson about sanctions
American UN ambassador Richardson about Lockerbie
Bill Clinton speaks about UN-sanctions against Libya
Bill Clinton about US/Libyan relations 1996
Letter to Albright from US Senator Lautenberg
Madeline Albright of the US Defends Unpopular Sanctions
Against Libya - Speech delivered in the Security Council.
- SPECIAL POLICY FORUM REPORT from the Washington Institute for Near East Studies October 1st 1998 on Libya and Lockebie
- US State Dept. Background briefing on Lockerbie Crisis 24/08/1998
USA ENGAGE - Organization of US firms
and companies fighting the UN sanctions
Congress Bill 246h and amendments (1997-1998)
Letter from 22 US senators lobbying for harder Libyan embargo, December 1998
Letter from 4 US senators urging tougher sanctions against Libya before critical UN embargo review, February 1999
- Letter from 12 US senators urging US government to keep US sanctions against Libya, April 1999
- "Clintons Bluster", article about UN sanction policy regarding Lockerbie embargo, March 8th, 1999 from The Weekly Standart
- NEW: Letter from the 3 US senators to M. Albright from September 14, 1999, asking to view mysterious Libya-Annan letter
- NEW: Letter from the US Congress Committe on International Relations from October 5, 1999, asking to see Libya-Annan letter
- NEW: Letter from the US Congress Committe on International Relations from October 26, 1999, demanding to see Libya-Annan letter
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
Common Hansard Debate about Lockerbie 23/07/1997
Common Hansard Debate about the Lockerbie Crisis
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 mission of the Great Libyan Arab Jamaheriya to the United nations
Avenue Blanc 47
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
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!