I.P.O. Information Service

Lockerbie Case New Revelations Call for New Criminal Investigation and for an Independent Public Inquiry

Vienna, 23 August 2002/P/RE/17898c-is

In a statement issued today, Professor Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization, called upon the Scottish judicial authorities to undertake a fresh investigation into the bombing of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in 1988. Professor Koechler who acted as international observer at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands by nomination of the Secretary-General of the United Nations further renewed his call for an independent public inquiry into the entire Lockerbie case and the handling of the case by the Scottish and British authorities.

Professor Koechler made his calls in view of this week's important revelations on the possible background of the Lockerbie crime and on the judicial circumstances in which the case was handled, namely:

         The statement of Atef Abu Bakr, former spokesman of Abu Nidal's "Fateh Revolutionary Council," published today in the Arabic daily Al-Hayat and distributed in English by Associated Press, according to which the group's leader Abu Nidal said: "I have very important and serious things to say. The reports that attribute Lockerbie to others are lies. We are behind it." (It is to be noted that this revelation comes a few days after the death of Abu Nidal under mysterious circumstances in Baghdad.)

         The revelations published in the British newspaper The Guardian (16 August 2002) and in the Sunday Herald, Glasgow  (18 August 2002) about the membership of many people of the legal establishment of Scotland in the so-called Speculative Society, a group of "friends" dating back to the 18th century, that keeps membership secret similar to Masonic traditions. According to names leaked to the media, a considerable number of the protagonists of the Lockerbie trial (from the panel of judges and from the prosecution and defense teams) supposedly belong to this group, which raises questions in regard to fairness and impartiality of the proceedings as required under Article 6 the European Human Rights Convention.

In his two reports on the Lockerbie trial on the trial proceedings in February 2001 and on the appeal proceedings in March 2002 Professor Koechler raised serious questions about fairness and due process and called into question the handling of the case in the framework of the adversarial system of Scots criminal law. He submitted his reports to the United Nations Secretary-General and to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. His report on the trial proceedings was circulated as an official document of the last session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.

Professor Koechler today also stated that an independent public inquiry will have to deal with the attitude of the Libyan government which even when the matter was still sub judice repeatedly hinted at a possible readiness to pay compensation to the families of the Lockerbie victims and to accept responsibility for the Lockerbie  bombing. In light of the new revelations the reliability of which will have to be assessed carefully and of the Libyan government's behaviour, aimed first and foremost at a political rapprochement with the United Kingdom and the United States,  it will be of utmost importance to reinvestigate the entire circumstances of the criminal investigation and of the trial. The fact that Libya had hired a defense team that grossly neglected its professional duties and chose not to use most of the legal means available to Megrahi's defense requires an explanation.

Earlier this week the International Progress Organization has released a comprehensive documentation on Professor Koechler's observer mission: THE LOCKERBIE TRIAL. Documents Related to the I.P.O. Observer Mission. Studies in International Relations, vol. XXVII.

END/ Lockerbie Case New Revelations Call for New Criminal Investigations and for an Independent Public Inquiry /2002-08-23/P/RE/17898c-is