League of Arab States -- International Conference on Lockerbie Issue

Cairo, 9 April 2001/P/RE/17105c-is

At an international conference on "Lockerbie -- Law and Politics" held at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo (7-8 April 2001), the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, presented the report which he had made in his capacity as international observer of the Lockerbie Trial in the Netherlands. Dr. Koechler is one of five international observers appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the basis of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998). At this gathering of eminent legal experts from most Arab countries, Dr. Koechler reiterated his view that the Lockerbie Verdict was logically inconsistent and that the trial, seen in its entirety, was not fair. His evaluation was confirmed by the international observer of the League of Arab States, Dr. Nabil El-Araby, and by the additional observer of the International Progress Organization, Mr. Robert Thabit, Esq. (New York).

The conference was co-sponsored by the League of Arab States and the Arab Lawyers Union. It was inaugurated by the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Dr. Esmat Abd El-Meguid, in the presence of the former President of Algeria, Mr. Ahmed Ben Bella. In the Cairo Declaration adopted at the end of the conference, the participants criticized the apparent political interference into the proceedings of the Scottish Court and called for a fair trial for Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi at the eventual Scottish Court of Appeal. The participants further called for the immediate lifting of United Nations sanctions against Libya.

According to a report in the British newspaper "The Observer," Dr. Koechler said at the opening of the Cairo meeting that one cannot come out with a verdict of guilty for one and innocent for the other when they were both being tried on the basis of an indictment the essence of which consists in the joint action of the two accused. The overall evaluation of the Lockerbie Trial by Professor Koechler in regard to the question of fairness and to the political dimension was confirmed, among others, by the spokesman of "UK Families-Flight 103," Dr. Jim Swire, and by the Rev. John Mosey whose daughter Helga, 19, was killed at Lockerbie. According to a report in "Scotland on Sunday," Rev. Mosey said Koechler's report touched on many of the issues he had raised with the Lord Advocate during the trial without satisfactory answers. "It expresses more eloquently than I managed to do all of the major concerns that many of the relatives had identified," he said. Professor Koechler received several messages from relatives of Lockerbie victims and from the Scottish Peoples Mission confirming his evaluation and his concerns about the fairness of the trial.

END/Arab League / International Conference on Lockerbie Issue / 09-04-2001/P/RE/17105c-is