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Legal issues

NEW!!

THE VERDICT - from Scottish Courts Service - read the officila full verdict from the Court in Camp Zeist - more than 80 pages of explanations for sending Megrahi to Glasgow Prison and letting Fhima go free.

SPECIAL FEATURE: The Verdict - a NEW page, updated around the hour, with latest news, interviews, opinions, reports and pictures from judgment day at Camp Zeist !



New Lockerbie Bombing Trial website
A new legal website has been broadcast on the internet. It is allegedly built by Scotlands top defence-lawyers and legal experts. The site contains legal analysis of the various issues and upcoming evidence and testimony. However, access to the website is admissable on credit card payment. For an amount of between 10 and 500 a month, viwers may join chat-room sessions with direct interview of legal experts each day of the trial. A present free-trial version is currently available at this URL:
www.lockerbiebombtrial.com

For all those with a legal interest in the upcoming Lockerbie Trial, you are invited in participating to write a legal paper or comment for the International Legal Perspectives (ILP) in Oregon, USA, who is pleased to announce its upcoming Lockerbie Trials Special Issue.
Press HERE to read more!
 

Tools of a trial
It is the first time in modern history of law that national Scottish law is being used in a criminal case in a third country. In order to understand what is going on in the courthouse and outside, one must learn a little about Scottish criminal procedure and law. Scottish law differs mutch from US law and even British law. Explore the links below for better information: 

Why is Scottish law used in the Lockerbie trial ?
Victims of Pan Am flight 103 came from different countries, the bomb could have been put aboard in Malta, Germany or London, the carrier was an American flight. But the bomb went off in Scottish airspace. It was a logical solution to apply Scottish law to the criminal trial due to venue of the crime domus delictis

Why is the trial taking place in the Netherlands ?
Why the trial is taking place in the Netherlands is a good question. It is unheard of in international criminal law. But the Netherlands was chosen by the interacting parties (Libya, Scotland, UK and USA) by way of agreement (treaty), and not by the normal rules of international law. The main reason was that Libya feared their citizens would not get a fair trial if tried in the US, UK or Scotland, and the US, UK and Scotland feared the suspects wouldn't get a fair trial in Libya. Thus everybody met in a "neutral" place. Another crucial document, a UN Order in Council giving effect to Security Council resolutions relating to the trial documents, was drawn up when the compromise was agreed. 

Explenation of the charges
The charges against the two men accused of the Lockerbie bombing are outlined in the Petition upon which warrant for arrest was issued by the Sheriff of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway on 13 November 1991. The trial will proceed on the basis of an indictment, yet to be served on the accused, which will contain charges similar to those in the petition. The charges contained in the Petition are: conspiracy to murder, murder and contravention of the Aviation Security Act 1982(e). Clare Connelly (University of Glasgow) has prepared an easy-to-read overview of the charges at http://www.law.gla.ac.uk/lockerbie/crimchrg.htm

Read the official Scottish petition for indicting the two Libyan suspects. The petition from 1991 is the basis for the prosecution's case in the Lockerbie Trial. 

NEW!: October 29th, the indictment has been served upon the two Libyan's accused of the bombing of the airliner. The charges remain whooly similar to those in the petition but instances of the narrative have changed.
The official trial indictment,
courtesy of Glasgow University's Law Faculty at http://www.law.gla.ac.uk/lockerbie/

Read also the official US indictment from November 14 1991 aginst the suspects at http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5260/indict.html  but bear in mind, that the American indictment will play NO role at the upcoming Lockerbie Trial in Zeist. 

The legal framework
Serious offences in Scotland are normally tried with a jury. But there will be no jury in this case. The Lord Justice Clerk, one of the Scotlands most senior legal officers, will appoint three judges to hear the case. A fourth judge will be appointed to sit in the court, but not take any in the decision unless one of the judges dies or is absent for a prolonged period. 

  • Main differences between American and Scottish legal procedure in this particular Lockerbie trial

    Scottish criminal procedure in the Lockerbie trial
    Alistair J Bonnington (University of Glasgow) has compiled a short article about the exact crimnal procedures in the Lockerbie trial. Read more about how the beginning of the trial will be, what tools are being used, appeals and the relevant legal procedures. 

    How is the Lockerbie case being proved ?
    The trial begins with witnesses being called and the prosecution must  prove its case ''beyond reasonable doubt''.  The judges must give written reasons for any conviction and that result must be reached by a majority verdict.  If a conviction is secured (guilty), the men will be able to appeal to a panel of five judges. Another possibility is that the accused will be proved innocent (not guilty). 

    But Scottish law allows for a third verdict to be reached - ''not proven''. This is an acquittal and a person cannot be tried again if that verdict is passed. 

    Burden of proof in the Lockerbie case
    Fraser Davidson (University of Glasgow University) has compiled a good explenation of how the prosecution and the judges in the Lockerbie trial must work in order to reach a verdict. 

    Legal terms used in relation to the Lockerbie trial 
    Prof. John P. Grant (University of Glasgow School of Law) has compiled a list of useful definitions for some of the legal terms used in the Lockerbie trial. This glossary list will be updated as the trial progresses and the latest version can be found on the LTB Web site: www.law.gla.ac.uk/lockerbie/


    Special items

    If you have any ideas or comments to THIS website, you are more than welcome to email me. My email address is aoude@hotmail.com

    Trial news update
    Latest update on what happened in the courtroom and outside. Who took the stand, what evidence was provided, who attended the trial and why. Updated on an everyday basis. 

    Special features
    An index of various handpicked articles, interviews or overviews on items related to the trial and the bombing of Pan Am 103. 

    Court schedules
    What will happen next ? Find all important timetables, dates and alerts to upcoming events at the courthouse in Zeist. 

    Contact info
    For visitors, relatives, journalists and others interested in the trial of the century. How to get there, whom to talk to. Addresses, phone, fax and email. 

    The old, temporary Lockerbie Trial page
    If you can't wait to read about the trial, take a look at the old, provisionary trial website from the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Crash page. It contains some background information, including the official indictment of the two Libyan suspects. 


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