International observer mission of the President of the
International Progress Organization,
On the basis of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998), Dr. Hans Koechler was appointed on 28 April 2000 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as one of five international observers of the "Lockerbie Trial" at Kamp Van Zeist in the Netherlands. On 3 February 2001, three days after the announcement of the verdict by the panel of three Scottish judges, Dr. Koechler delivered his comprehensive report as international observer to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In a letter dated 20 February 2001, the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Mr. Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, informed Dr. Koechler that his report had been forwarded to the Scottish Court in the Netherlands. The report which was made public by the I.P.O. in the middle of February 2001, caused controversial political reactions and initiated a worldwide debate on the basic questions of international criminal justice. The report was circulated as official document of the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (2002) under item 11 (d) of the provisional agenda "Civil and political rights, including the questions of: independence of the judiciary, administration of justice, impunity" (United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Doc. E/CN.4/2002/125, 27 November 2001). The appeal filed by the convicted Libyan national, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi, was refused by the Scottish Appeal Court at Kamp van Zeist in its Decision of 14 March 2002. On 26 March 2002 Dr. Koechler issued a comprehensive report on the appeal proceedings which he forwarded to the Presidency of the Security Council, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
At the beginning of the Lockerbie dispute in 1992, the International Progress Organization had formed an international committee of legal experts which recommended that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice. In a declaration adopted at its first working session on 23 May 1992 in Geneva, the committee suggested, under item 8 of its declaration, that "the parties involved should consider submitting the question of personal criminal responsibility to an ad hoc international criminal tribunal." In the declaration adopted at its second working session on 1 December 1994 in New York, the committee suggested, under item 7 of the declaration, that "the Security Council could submit the question of personal criminal responsibility of the two accused Libyan nationals to a criminal tribunal of Scottish Judges meeting at the seat of the International Court of Justice." In his capacity as President of the International Progress Organization and co-ordinator of the committee of legal experts, Professor Hans Koechler met on 1 December 1994 with the President of the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He was accompanied by committee members Professor Robert Charvin (France), Professor Türkkaya Ataöv (Turkey), and Professor Francis Boyle (USA). In a statement issued on 3 September 1998, the Committee had raised concerns in regard to the highly politicized framework of the Lockerbie trial envisaged in Security Council resolution 1192 (1998) and had expressed doubts about the fairness of a trial under such circumstances.
More than five years after Dr. Koechler had doubted the fairness of the proceedings and suspected a miscarriage of justice, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 28 June 2007, referred Mr. Al Megrahi's case back to the Appeal Court. In August 2009 Mr. Al Megrahi withdrew his appeal; a few days later he was granted "compassionate release" and was repatriated to Libya.