I.P.O. Information Service


Lockerbie case -- Judicial review -- Proposal of Nelson Mandela

Vienna, 11 June 2002/P/RE/17763c-is

In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Professor Hans Koechler, welcomed the proposal of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, for a comprehensive legal review of the Lockerbie appeal proceedings in the case of the Libyan citizen Abdelbaset Al Megrahi.

The proposal to present Al Megrahi's case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was initially made by Professor Hans Koechler in his report of 26 March 2002 on the Lockerbie appeal proceedings. The report was sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In April 2000, Prof. Koechler was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as international observer of the Lockerbie trial on the basis of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998). In a meeting with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, in December 2001, Prof. Koechler made it clear that he considers an eventual review of the Lockerbie proceedings -  depending on the decision of the Appeal Court - by the European Court of Human Rights a basic right enjoyed by every person who appears before the court of a European country that has ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, irrespective of his nationality. Such a step, he explained, will not be in violation of the UN-initiated intergovernmental agreement about the setting up of a Scottish Court in the Netherlands. This will be a test case for the credibility of the system of human rights protection in Europe, Prof. Koechler stated.

President Mandela is perfectly right when he calls for a review of Megrahi's case by stressing the "fundamental principles of natural law," Professor Koechler said, commenting on the former's remarks at a press conference after the visit with Mr. Megrahi at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, Scotland.

In two reports on the Lockerbie proceedings (published in February 2001 and March 2002) Prof. Koechler gave detailed reasons why the Libyan citizen Al-Megrahi did not get a fair trial and why both, the decision of the trial court as well as the decision of the appeal court, resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

The reports are available at the I.P.O. homepage at http://i-p-o.org/lockerbie_observer_mission.htm.

END/Lockerbie case -- Judicial review -- Proposal of Nelson Mandela /11-06-02/17763c-is