Statement by Dr Hans Koechler, International Observer, appointed by the
United Nations, at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands (Lockerbie
Trial), on the withholding of supposedly secret evidence from the Defense
by order of the Government of the United Kingdom
Los Angeles, 25
of an information and consultation visit on international law issues to
the Asia-Pacific region, Dr Hans Koechler today issued the following
statement on the decision of the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary not to
allow the disclosure of a document, provided by a “Foreign Government,”
that is related to the electronic timer device which supposedly triggered
the explosion of a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103:
continued withholding of evidence related to the case of Abdelbaset Ali
Mohamed Al Megrahi makes a new appeal actually impossible.
Should the document in question not be made available, criminal
proceedings under Scots Law will have to be terminated.
behavior of the British Government is in contravention to the commitment
it made vis-à-vis the United Nations Organization prior to the adoption
of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998) to enable a fair and
independent trial of the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie case under
invocation of “Public Interest Immunity” (PII) – unprecedented in the
history of Scottish criminal justice – is tantamount to political
interference into the
conduct. It is obvious that criminal proceedings cannot be fair if the
Defense is denied access to a piece of evidence (document) which has
been revealed to the Prosecution.
the highly politicized circumstances of the Lockerbie Trial, the issuing
of a PII certificate by the Foreign Secretary of the
appears to be a rather desperate measure to influence the conduct of the
court in a manner favorable to the British Government; it further
strains the constitutional relations between Scotland and the United
separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary is a basic
characteristic of the rule of law. In the present case, this principle
is violated because of the outright interference of the British
Government in a matter of the Scottish Judiciary.
British Government’s interference makes devolution of authority in
matters of Criminal Justice to
entirely meaningless. What is the meaning of “devolution” if a
Scottish Court is prevented from operating according to its own rules?
Scots Law is not to be administered under the terms of a Protectorate.
The crucial question will now be whether the Scots will be able to
assert their (constitutional) independence in devolved matters.
to be hoped that the Scottish Judges will uphold the independence of the
Judiciary and will reject the British Government’s interference. A court
of law is transformed into a political body
should the Judges allow this kind of interference.
persistent refusal of the UK Government to allow the disclosure of vital
evidence to the Defense points into the direction of a cover-up. In the
context of the irregularities at the Lockerbie trial and appeal in the
Netherlands (described in the undersigned’s reports of 2001 and 2002),
this development demonstrates the need for an independent
investigation under a United Nations mandate – especially since the
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has declared that a
“miscarriage of justice” may have occurred.
convicted Libyan national has a right to a genuine judicial review of
his verdict outside the confines of international realpolitik. In June
2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred his case
back to the High Court of Justiciary for a second appeal. If appeal
proceedings are now made impossible due to the British Executive’s
Megrahi will be denied his right to fair trial under the European
for the Protection of
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In this case, he will be entitled to
proceed to the European Court of Human Rights in