SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON LIBYA FOLLOWING BOMBING OF PAN AM FLIGHT 103, UTA FLIGHT 772
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON LIBYA FOLLOWING BOMBING OF PAN AM FLIGHT 103, UTA FLIGHT 772
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON LIBYA FOLLOWING BOMBING OF PAN AM FLIGHT 103, UTA FLIGHT 77219980320 Hears of Arab League Proposal for Trial Of Libyan Suspects Outside United Kingdom, United States
The Security Council this morning heard of a proposal by the League of Arab States aimed at resolving the situation for which the Council had imposed sanctions upon Libya following the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and the bombing of Union de Transports Aeriens flight 772.
The proposal offers three options for the trial of the two Libyan nationals suspected in the Lockerbie bombing -- they could be tried in a neutral country chosen by the Council, at the World Court in The Hague by Scottish judges, or in a special tribunal to be created at The Hague. The League's Observer at the United Nations said the proposal had been formulated in consultation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Under its resolution 748 (1992) and 883 (1993), the Council imposed a wide range of aerial, arms and diplomatic sanctions on Libya pending its renunciation of terrorism and its action to ensure the appearance of those charged with the Lockerbie bombings before the appropriate courts in the United Kingdom or the United States. It was also required to satisfy French judicial authorities with respect to the UTA bombing.
Many speakers today drew attention to two recent decisions by the International Court of Justice on cases submitted by Libya against the United States and United Kingdom. In those cases, Libya held that those countries did not have the right to compel it to surrender the suspects. Libya also argued that the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation authorized Libya to try the suspects itself. The Court found that it had jurisdiction to deal with the merits of the cases, that the Libyan claims were admissible, and that it would take action to consider them.
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Addressing the Council, the representative of Libya said his country had been suffering from collective sanctions for the past six years, without a court judgement or a legal basis for them. Like the families of the bombing victims, Libya was anxious to have the two suspects brought to trial in a just and fair court in a neutral country and to uncover the truth.
He said his Government had urged the suspects to appear before a Scottish court, but they had refused on their lawyers' advice, stating they had already been condemned in the United Kingdom and the United States as a result of biased media coverage and official statements. Libya asked that the suspects be treated in the same manner as the American citizen accused in the Oklahoma City bombing, whose trial venue had been transferred from the state where the crime was committed.
The representative of the United States said that the World Court's rulings involved technical, procedural issues and in no way questioned the legality of the Security Council's actions affecting Libya or the merits of the criminal cases against the two accused suspects. It had simply said that the parties must now argue the legal merits of the case. While the case was proceeding, Libya must comply with its obligations under the Council decisions and turn over the two suspects for a fair trial.
The representative of the United Kingdom expressed the hope that the OAU and the Arab League would not be used to undermine the Council's resolutions, and that their influence would eventually be used to bring about Libya's acceptance of international law and justice for the victims. He said an expert mission sent by the Secretary-General had concluded that the Scottish legal system was fair and independent, that the accused would receive a fair trial under the Scottish judicial system, and that their rights would be fully protected during all phases of the trial proceeding in accordance with international standards.
The representative of France said it was not until 1996 that the Libyan authorities showed any desire to cooperate with the French magistrate with respect to the UTA bombing. However, after many years of inertia, significant progress had now been made, including the issuance of two additional arrest warrants for Libyan nationals, and it was hoped that cooperation would be forthcoming on the Pan Am case.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Costa Rica, the Russian Federation, China, Portugal, Kenya, Bahrain, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Brazil, Gabon, Gambia and Mali, as well as by Observers for the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The Council will meet again at 4 p.m. today to continue its discussion of the sanctions against Libya.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Libya and the sanctions it imposed on that country following the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and Union de Transports Aeriens flight 772.
Under its resolution 748 (1992), the Council imposed aerial, arms and diplomatic sanctions against Libya until that Government complied with requests to cooperate fully in establishing responsibility for the terrorist acts against the two planes. It said the Libyan Government must commit itself definitively to cease all forms of terrorist action and all assistance to terrorist groups, and that it must promptly, by concrete actions, demonstrate its renunciation of terrorism.
Those measures text were significantly expanded by Council resolution 883 (1993) to include a freeze on some Libyan assets abroad, the tightening of the air embargo, and the banning of certain types of equipment used at oil transportation terminals and refineries.
Also by the latter resolution, the Council expressed its readiness to review the sanctions with a view to suspending them if the Libyan Government ensured the appearance of those charged with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 for trial before the appropriate United Kingdom or United States court and satisfied the French judicial authorities with respect to the bombing of UTA flight 772. The Council said it was ready to do so with a view to lifting the sanctions immediately when Libya complied fully with its resolutions on the matter.
On 3 March 1992, Libya submitted cases to the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, contending that neither the United Kingdom nor the United States had the right to compel it to surrender two Libyan nationals suspected of having caused the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988, in which 270 people died -- all 259 passengers and crew, as well as 11 people on the ground. Libya also argued that the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation signed at Montreal in 1971 authorized it to try the suspects itself.
On 27 February, the World Court found that it had jurisdiction to deal with the merits of the cases brought by Libya against the United States and the United Kingdom concerning the Lockerbie incident. It also found that the Libyan claims were admissible. The Court announced that, following consultations with the parties, it would fix time-limits for further written and oral proceedings. The Court would hands down a judgment on the merits only after the oral proceedings. (For additional information on the Court's finding, see Press Releases ICJ/552 and ICJ/553 of 27 February.)
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Background on Agenda Item
The Council is considering the situation in Libya under an agenda item which cites five letters written to the Secretary-General in December 1991 concerning responsibility for the bombing attacks on the United States and French airliners.
A letter dated 20 December 1991 from the Permanent Representative of France contains a communique from the Presidency of the French Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the judicial inquiry that placed the presumption of guilt on several Libyan nationals for the attack on 19 September against UTA DC-10 flight 772. The communique calls upon Libya to produce all material evidence it possesses that might be useful in establishing the truth, facilitate contacts and meetings for the assembly of witnesses, and authorize Libyan officials to response to requests made by the examining magistrate (document S/23306).
Enclosed in a letter dated 20 December 1991 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom are the texts of statements made by the Lord Advocate of Scotland, the Foreign Secretary and the British Government relating to the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland on 21 December that resulted in the loss of 270 lives (document S/23307). All statements demand the surrender for trial of those charged with the crime.
Another letter before the Council dated 20 December 1991 is from the Permanent Representative of the United States (document S/23308). Annexed to the letter is a statement by the United States Government regarding the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and a joint declaration of the United States and the United Kingdom that the Government of Libya must surrender for trial all those charged with the crime of bombing the airliner, disclose all it knows of the crime and pay appropriate compensation.
A letter dated 20 December 1991 from the Permanent Representatives of France, United Kingdom and the United States forwards the text of a tripartite declaration on terrorism, by the three States: reaffirm their condemnation of all forms of terrorism and denounce any complicity of States in terrorism acts; state that the responsibility of States begins whenever they take part directly or indirectly in terrorist actions; and requires that Libya comply with specific demands by the three States to surrender for trial those involved in the bombings of the two airliners, disclose information about the crime, and pay compensation (document S/23309).
A letter dated 23 December 1991 (document S/23317) from the Permanent Representative of the United States transmits a copy of the indictment handed down by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on 14 November 1991 in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
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OMAR MUSTAFA MUNTASSER (Libya), speaking at the outset of the meeting expressed his country's solidarity and sympathy with the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 and its sadness at their suffering. It was hoped that a quick agreement would be reached on the dispute over a venue for the trial of the two suspects in order to end their suffering and the suffering of millions of Libyan families. The Council was meeting today on an agenda item that went back seven years, when the United States and the United Kingdom demanded the extradition of the two Libyan citizens suspected of being involved in the incident of the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. That demand contradicted Libyan national law and most international laws relating to jurisdiction and non-extradition of citizens and contradicted international customary law. It also contradicted the 1971 Montreal Convention and ran counter to the judgements of the United States Supreme Court, which barred extradition in the absence of an extradition treaty.
He said the two countries also demanded the payment of compensation, encroaching on the defendant's right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. They also demanded that Libya submit the evidence to prove the guilt of the two suspects. However, Libya neither accused nor suspected the two Libyan citizens. It was the United States and the United Kingdom which accused them. Therefore, they themselves must provide the evidence, and not Libya.
He said his country had been suffering from collective sanctions for the past six years, without a Court judgment and without legal judicial basis. Like the families of the victims, Libya was anxious to have the two suspects brought to trial in a just and fair court and to uncover the truth.
From the beginning, Libya had dealt with the suspicion of two of its citizens within the framework of the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, which accorded Libya judicial competence for trying the two suspects. The two suspects were apprehended and two judges began investigating the case, first, by contacting the judicial authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Regrettably, they had the investigation virtually halted because of non-compliance by the other parties. Libya subsequently called for the implementation of article 14 of the 1971 Montreal Convention, which states that any dispute between two or more contracting States, that could not be settled through negotiations, shall be referred to arbitration, at the request of any one of these States. It also brought the issue before the Libyan legislative authorities. Libya had made various proposals aimed at finding a peaceful settlement of the dispute and had called on the two countries concerned to send judicial investigators to participate in the investigation, but they refused.
He said the countries concerned had transformed the question from a legal to a political one by submitting it to the Security Council, which had adopted resolution 731 (1992) under the threat of launching a military
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aggression against Libya. The Council passed the resolution in order to save Libya from a greater eminent danger. However, the United States did attack Libya in 1986.
Resolution 731 (1992) was adopted in a clear violation of the provisions of principles of the Charter. After Libya filed its application with the International Court of Justice, the two countries concerned were quick to resort to the Council, pushing it into adopting resolution 748 (1992) and 883 (1993), imposing sanctions on his country.
The Lockerbie incident took place four years prior to the adoption of those resolutions. The suspicion was levelled against two individuals who could not constitute a threat to peace. The two countries concerned had challenged the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in handling the case, asserting that the Montreal Convention was not applicable. Accordingly, the Court was obliged to review this aspect of the case and to postpone reviewing the original case, leading to further delays in dealing with the dispute.
He said that Libya had applied the provisions of Article 33 of the Charter resorting to regional and international organizations seeking a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement, he said, submitting the question to the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement. However, the two countries rejected offers and proposals by those organizations and some other countries. The fact that they are permanent Members of the Council who enjoyed the veto power meant that there was no response to various proposals. The demands and appeals of most of the families of the victims, who called for trying the two suspects in a neutral country, were also rejected. Nevertheless, Libya had fully responded to Council resolutions, despite misgivings and doubts about their legitimacy and legality.
Addressing the issue of terrorism, he said that liberation movements were not terrorist organizations. Libya had never supported terrorism but had assisted in the liberation struggle, and there was a big difference between the two. Libya had condemned terrorism in several letters to the Secretary- General and the President of the Council. It had called for the convening of a special session of the General Assembly to consider the question of terrorism. It has also announced its readiness to formulate bilateral or multilateral agreements on the methods required to eradicate international terrorism, and that it was prepared to enter into bilateral or multilateral talks to that end. Libya would never allow its territory, citizens, or institutions to be used to commit terrorist acts, directly or indirectly, and was ready to severely punish those proved to be involved in such accts. Furthermore, Libya had no objection to inquiries by the Secretary-General or one of his representatives inside Libya in order to refute or confirm those claims. Over the past six years, Libya had called on the Council and the
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Secretary-General to send a committee, an envoy or envoys to ascertain the fact that it had nothing to do with terrorism.
Regarding the trial of the two suspects, he said that Libya had no objection to their appearance before a fair court in a neutral country, and had even urged the two suspects to do so. It had urged the two suspects to appear before a Scottish court in Scotland. However, on their lawyers' advice, they had refused since they had already been pre-condemned in the United Kingdom and the United States owing to biased media coverage and statements by officials. The lawyers for the two suspects threatened to sue Libya, under local and international laws if it surrendered the two suspects against their will.
Libya had asked that the two suspects be treated in the same manner as the American citizen, Timothy McVeigh, the accused in the Oklahoma City bombing. Mr. McVeigh's trial venue was transferred from the state where the crime was committed to another state.
He said that the sanctions adopted by the Council under its resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) were collective punishment against the entire Libyan people as a result of nothing more than a mere suspicion of two of its citizens. As such, they were blatant violations of all international human rights instruments. The two Libyan citizens were mere suspects who had not been accused, interrogated, brought to trial or condemned in a court of law. Therefore, the Council sanctions were a clear violation of article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
He said that Libya had responded fully to what was asked of it. All Council resolutions were implemented through negotiation and dialogue. Libya had affirmed -- and it had been confirmed in the two judgments of the International Court of Justice and by most members of the Council and the United Nations -- that the problem was between Libya and the United Kingdom and the United States, and not with the Security Council.
Libya had never cast doubt on the Scottish judiciary or Scottish law. Whatever was said by the attorneys for the two suspects about Scotland in letters sent to the Council, related to the venue and had nothing to do with the judges or the law.
A new situation had evolved since the issuance of the two World Court judgments, which should be binding to all United Nations organs and their members, he said. Thus, the United Kingdom and the United States should be bound by the decision, namely, that there was a dispute over the interpretation and application of the Convention between them and Libya and that the Court had jurisdiction in considering that dispute, and also that Council resolutions had no influence in Libya's demands.
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The dispute between Libya and the United States and the United Kingdom was a legal one in which the Court had jurisdiction, he said. The parties to the dispute must comply with the two judgments and might not take unilateral or multilateral measures except through the Court. Since they were parties to the dispute, they had to abstain from voting on any decision or recommendation relating to it. The Council must, by virtue of the provisions of the Charter, take the recommendations and measures needed to give effect to that judgment, whether or not it was requested to do so. Council sanctions had become irrelevant and moot, since the Court had accepted jurisdiction in the matter on which the resolutions were based.
He said that sanctions had been imposed on Libya since 1992 under a framework of handling the dispute which was found to be erroneous by the principal judicial arm of the United Nations. The Council should therefore take the necessary measures to give effect to the two judgments rendered by the Court. It should promptly and urgently refrain from renewing the sanctions. The two related Council resolutions should be rescinded and the two cases before the Court should be considered the only peaceful means for settling the dispute between the parties. As an interim measure, the Council should suspend the implementation of the two sanctions resolutions.
The two judgments by the Court paved the way for a definitive settlement of the Lockerbie dispute, he said. Libya once more declared its continued acceptance of the initiatives of the international forums, including the League of Arab States, the OAU, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which were presented to the Council in order to assure the effective implementation of the international and national laws. Libya most emphatically repeated before the Council and the entire world that it was not responsible for the tragic destruction of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie and the horrendous loss of innocent human beings which resulted.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said that the rulings by the International Court of Justice in no way questioned the legality of the Security Council's actions affecting Libya or the merits of the criminal cases against the two accused suspects in the Lockerbie case. The rulings of the Court involved technical, procedural issues. Contrary to the assertions of the Libyan Government, the Court was not calling for the review or suspension of Security Council resolutions. The Court had made clear that it was not dealing with the substance or the merits of the case.
In 1992, he said, the World Court specifically rejected this interpretation of its review of Libya's claims. The Court had simply said that the parties must now argue the legal merits of the case. While the case was proceeding, Libya must comply with its obligation pursuant to Security Council decisions and turn over the two accused suspects for a fair trial.
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Regarding claims of humanitarian suffering in Libya as a result of sanctions, he said, it should be noted that Libya remained the wealthiest country in Africa on a per capita basis. Libya was importing more medical instruments today than it did prior to the imposition of sanctions. A 1996 report on maternal child health in Libya issued by the Arab League and the Libyan Government stated that, "Childhood mortality estimates reflect a steady decline, particularly during the last five years."
United Nations sanctions against Libya were targeted sanctions, he said, imposed to address aspects of Libyan involvement in international terrorism, but specifically designed to prevent suffering among the Libyan people. Those sanctions did not prohibit the importation of food, medicine, or clothing, and they did not prevent Libya from selling its oil on the open market.
The sanctions regime had always permitted exceptions to the air embargo for approved medical evacuation flights, he went on. The Chairman of the Council's Sanctions Committee had recently stated that procedures for approving such flights worked well, with Libyan cooperation, and permitted flights to be approved on very short notice, sometimes even within a matter of hours. In fact, the number of approved medical evacuation flights had increased every year since sanctions were imposed.
He said the Libyan Government had repeatedly and erroneously claimed that sanctions prevented Libyan pilgrims from making the Haj to Saudi Arabia. The Security Council had no intention or desire to prevent the Libyan people from fulfilling their religious obligations. For the past three years, the United States had supported the Sanctions Committee approval of direct flights from Libya to Jeddah on third country aircraft for Libyan pilgrims. Those flights had enabled thousands of Libyans, to fly direct to the Haj, a privilege that new other countries could provide. More Libyans had flown to the Haj since sanctions than at any time before them.
If Libya truly wanted the sanctions lifted, it should surrender the two suspects so they could receive a fair trial in the appropriate criminal court, he stated. The assertions made today by the Libyan representative evaded the main issue at hand -- the search for justice. The international community had condemned the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772 and had imposed sanctions upon Libya so that the men responsible would soon be brought to justice. It was not the goal of the United States to see Libya reduced to an international pariah. In fact, the United States looked forward to the day when the sanctions could be removed, and Libya was once again a member in good standing of the international community. But that day would not come until the victims of Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 received the justice they so richly deserved.
FERNANDO BERROCAL SOTO (Costa Rica) said sanctions must be subject to a time-frame and not be a form of punishment of the population of a country. Any sanctions regime must be accompanied by active and ongoing dialogue
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between the parties concerned, so the Government concerned might change its illegal policies. That was the position of Costa Rica in the case of sanctions imposed against Libya. The current debate constituted a step forward in what was a demand by all Member States for transparency in the rules and working methods of the Council. Libya and any other State subjected to a sanctions regime, as well as other affected parties, had a right to present their position. The sanctions committee had a legal obligation to hear them and to analyse their arguments objectively in order to take a fair decision.
At the origin of the sanction regime were two unjustifiable criminal acts committed against commercial flights, which claimed 441 lives, he said. It was an unprecedented crime in the history of civil aviation. In face of the gravity of those acts, the international community had to take a clear unequivocal stand, so the criminals might be brought to trial. Therefore, his Government agreed that the sanction regime against Libya must be maintained and extended for another 120 days.
An accurate assessment of the real scope of the International Court of Justice's judgments would be reflected in the further review to be conducted by the Council in the coming months, he said. The OAU had submitted a number of jurisdictional options which would also be studied closely. It might be possible to begin a constructive dialogue to settle the problem of jurisdiction and relevant laws.
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the investigation regarding UTA flight 772 had been completed with the cooperation of the Libyan Government. Yet, the Council resolutions had not yet been fully implemented and the situation surrounding the Lockerbie case remained deadlocked. The initiatives put forward to settle that case were on the right track, and the World Court's judgments put forward relevant information on assessing the legal aspects of the case.
Sanctions should be a means of supporting political efforts aimed at achieving a settlement in a given conflict, he said. Sanctions should be linked to the political process. In the Lockerbie case, serious humanitarian consequences for the Libyan people indicated the need for humanitarian exemptions in the sanctions regime. Measures were needed to reduce the negative consequences of the sanctions, in light of damage done to the public health system and to the services sector and agriculture. It was also high time to replace the four aging Libyan planes used for medical evacuation purposes. Restrictions should also be limited on the import of spare parts for agricultural flights. Exemptions should also be allowed for pilgrimage flights. The Council must react adequately to the positive steps taken by Libya to comply with the United Nations resolutions and decisions. The Russian Federation was in favour of the immediate entry into force of the aforementioned humanitarian exemptions.
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QIN HUASUN (China) said the key to the resolution of the Lockerbie case was for the parties concerned to agree, at an early date, on the venue and method of the trial of the two suspects. In this regard, China was pleased to note that the Arab League and the OAU had put forward three options concerning questions about the trial. Libya had agreed to the trial by Scottish judges at The Hague in accordance with Scottish law. China supported those proposals, which are constructive and have reflected the flexibility of the party concerned.
The recent decision of the International Court of Justice to accept the Lockerbie case was a positive decision. China supported the settlement of the issue through peaceful means, including legal procedures. China was not in favour of sanctions against Libya, which had brought untold sufferings to the Libyan people, especially women and children, undermined the development of Libya, and at the same time affected the economic development of third countries. Facts had proved that sanctions, instead of solving the problem, only aggravated matters. Therefore, they should be lifted as soon as possible. China supported the reasonable request raised by the Arab League and OAU on numerous occasions to life the sanctions against Libya. Their opinions would help the Council in making a correct judgement in its future deliberations on the question of Libya.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said while his Government welcomed the concern shown by the Libyan authorities regarding the human rights of the two suspects in the Lockerbie case, it could not accept the argument that a Scottish court did not offer guarantees of impartiality and a fair trial. The British authorities had already indicated that they would accept international observation of the trial. The human rights of the suspects were doubly guaranteed in a trial in Scotland, due to the fact that a decision in a British court was subject to the control of the European Court on Human Rights, under the European Convention on Human Rights. That would not be the case if the trial were to take place in the Hague.
Portugal had studied carefully the Court's decision and had concluded that those decisions did not change the substance of the matter, he said. They merely addressed preliminary, procedural questions, and did not decide the merits of the case. In addition, they did not question the validity of the relevant resolutions of the Council.
He went on to say that the sanctions imposed on Libya were hurting all people in the country, both economically and psychologically, and were not only targeted at those who were responsible for Libya's refusal to comply with Council resolutions. Yet the Petrovsky report showed that the Libyan authorities were not making use of the appropriate mechanisms established by the Council and the Sanctions Committee to address the consequences of the sanctions.
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Portugal supported the Sanctions Committee's determination to continue to pay special attention to all humanitarian issues, he said. The United Nations, and the Council in particular, should think of more efficient ways to bring Libya into compliance with the relevant resolutions. In addition, his Government appealed to the Libyan authorities to cooperate fully with the Council and to fulfil their obligations promptly.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said the debate afforded an excellent opportunity to re-examine what needed to be done to ease the pain of the families of the bereaved. Much had been said in the past. But "we need to look into the future and act", with a resolve tempered with the reality that decisions would affect the lives of the bereaved families and the innocent people of Libya suffering under sanctions.
Fourteen days ago, he said, when the Council reviewed the sanctions imposed on Libya by resolution 748 (1992), Kenya had tried to balance the two competing, but equally important realities in the case. On the one hand, an act of terror was committed causing immense anguish and suffering to many people, but especially to the families of the victims. On the other hand, the sanctions regime had failed to bring in the culprits. It was time to take stock of how much had really been achieved since the sanctions were imposed. The families of the victims must be allowed to put the tragedy behind them with the perpetrators of the terrorist act being brought to trial and to receive complete restitution as well. The innocent people of Libya should be relieved from the suffering caused by sanctions.
Justice delayed was justice denied, he said. There was no one single simple answer. It was a very complex legal and political issue. There had been some positive results. Libya had responded positively to some of the demands of the international community including cooperation on the Irish Republican Army matter and cooperation on the UTA 772 incident. Recently there had been attempts by several organizations to resolve the problem. The League of Arab States had proposed options, which were supported by the OAU, the Organization of the Islamic Countries, and the Non-Aligned Movement. They included: to try the two suspects in a third, neutral country to be determined by the Security Council; have the suspects tried by Scottish Judges at The Hague in accordance with Scottish law and, finally, to establish a special criminal tribunal at the International Court of Justice to try the two suspects.
The International Court of Justice judgment held that there was a dispute relating to the Montreal Convention which could be decided by the Court, he said. The Court said that both its jurisdiction and the admissibility of any claim had to be determined at the moment Libya's claims were first field. If any changes were to be introduced to the conditions originally set by the Council, they must be acceptable to all the parties to the dispute. However, that was not the case. There were two interpretations: the first view was that the judgment was on preliminary jurisdictional issues,
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with the Court not having pronounced itself on the merits of Libya's claims in any way. The Court held that it had jurisdiction to determine, under the Montreal Convention, whether the two Governments' demand for surrender of the accused were or were not in breach of Libya's rights under that Convention. The second and opposing view was that there was a dispute between the two parties in this case on the interpretation and application of the Montreal Convention and that the Court had jurisdiction over the dispute based on article 14 of the Convention.
Kenya strongly believed that they provided clear options for resolving the stalemate, he said. He urged the States directly involved in the dispute to give serious and urgent consideration to the proposals by the OAU and other regional bodies. He emphasized the need for the parties directly concerned to take specific action to ensure a rapid and definitive settlement of the dispute.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said that Libya had suffered under Council sanctions since 1992. Clearly, the terrorist attacks were a penal question that only a tribunal could decide. The Council had decided that it fell under its purview. Under the Montreal Convention of 1971, the International Court of Justice had taken its decision first on its competence and then on the case. Since the Court was the judicial organ of the United Nations, the fact that it had decided on competence brought a new perspective to the matter and placed it in the hands of the best authority for dealing with it. The Court's decision had enshrined the dispute as a judicial not a political one. Therefore, the Council should take the Court's decision into account when it conducted its review of its sanctions against Libya.
The Council should consider the suspension of sanctions until the Court took a decision on the matter, he continued. Libya was feeling the harmful effect of the sanctions, despite its rich oil resources. Libyan authorities were not able to ensure emergency evacuation for sick people who needed to go abroad for medical treatment. The report of the fact-finding mission to Libya referred to the psychological effect of the sanctions on Libya. The country felt isolated and subject to a collective punishment even before the two suspects had been tried. The image of a "rogue State" was having a damaging effect on the people and the country. The Libyan authorities were perplexed that proposals by the OAU and the League of Arab States were not being considered.
He said the OAU had recommended three options: to try the two suspects in a neutral country to be determined by the Council; to have Scottish judges try them, in accordance with Scottish law, at the Hague; or to establish a special criminal tribunal at the International Court of Justice to try the suspects. Those options would allow a rapid decision on the matter. They would also provide an opportunity to address the concerns of the families of the victims and the matter of sanctions against Libya. The Council must re- examine the sanctions against Libya because of the Court's decision, and
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suspend them until a judgment on the case had been handed down. There should not be obstacles to the travel for sick people abroad. The pilgrimage and medical care should be excluded from sanctions.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said the case regarding the UTA and Pan Am flights must be resolved by bringing the culprits to justice. In addition, efforts should be made by the international community to eliminate international terrorism. Since the incidents in question, the Council had taken a series of actions to tackle what had become an important part of the international community's united effort to suppress international terrorism and to pursue justice.
The Libyan Government had continued to fail in fulfilling its obligations, thereby forcing the Council to take further measures since those original incidents, he said. The Council had so far undertaken 18 sanctions reviews, and recently some positive developments had taken place. In particular, the Libyan authorities had cooperated in the inquiry of UTA flight 772. Japan hoped Libya would act according to its obligations with respect to all the provisions of the relevant Council resolutions.
Regarding the humanitarian aspects of sanctions, he said the Sanctions Committee had regularly authorized flights for medical evacuation and religious pilgrimages. The Committee was also considering Libyan requests regarding the airworthiness of Libyan aircraft. It was also considering the report of the fact-finding mission headed by Mr. Petrovsky, and it would continue to consider favourably requests for humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions.
The World Court's decisions in effect had rejected the preliminary objections, he said. The Court had decided that it had jurisdiction to hear the cases brought by Libya against the United Kingdom and the United States. Those judgments exclusively concerned the jurisdiction of the case and not the criminal acts themselves. Those decisions could not prejudice the Council in an issue it had previously pursued.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said judgments by the International Court of Justice on preliminary objections generally addressed the questions of jurisdiction and admissibility of cases brought before it. They most often did not represent the final word of the Court, that was done only once the Court had pronounced its judgment on the merits. That was the situation regarding the situation of the two judgments concerning the aerial incident at Lockerbie which the Court made on 27 February.
Situations of parallel pursuit of the separate but complementary functions of the Court and the Council with respect to the same events were not new, he said. There was no conflict of jurisdiction involved in such cases. The Charter required from those who interpreted and implemented it to keep that in mind and refrain from interpretations by which activities of
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either of those two principal United Nations organs would prejudge the exercise of functions of the other. That was of paramount importance for the functioning of the United Nation system. The Court acted in conformity with that separation of powers when, in its order of 14 April 1992, it rejected the Libyan request for indication of provisional measures.
Regarding the sanctions imposed on Libya, he said the Sanctions Committee had been involved in ongoing efforts to address the humanitarian issues arising under the relevant Council resolutions. It had authorized specific exemptions, along with the necessary procedures, for emergency medical evacuations and pilgrimage flights. It was actively involved in the question of airworthiness of the Libyan aircraft designated for medical evacuations, in order to ensure that Libya had the means, safely and expeditiously to perform the medical evacuation flights. Slovenia expected that the Committee would continue to consider various humanitarian issues and to respond promptly to specific legitimate requests for exemptions.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said international terrorism constituted a threat to individual human lives and to international peace and security. The victims of the bombings of Pan Am flight 102 and UTA flight 772 must never be forgotten. The sanctions of Libya remain in force as a direct consequence of the Libyan Government's continued refusal to cooperate fully in efforts to seek clarity and justice in those events, in conformity with relevant Security Council resolutions. In particular, Libya had not complied with the Council's demands regarding the surrender for trial of the two suspects in the Lockerbie case. In that context, Sweden had noted the positive assessment recently made by the independent legal experts appointed by the Secretary-General on the possibilities for the two suspects to receive a fair trial in Scotland.
The negative humanitarian consequences of the sanctions should be minimized, he said. The sanctions against Libya were designed to avoid humanitarian implications for the Libyan people. Sweden has studied carefully the various proposals put forward to find a solution to the current situation, which had a negative impact on both Libya and the international community at large. His Government would take into consideration today's open debate, bearing in mind that Council resolutions must be complied with. Hopefully, it would soon be possible to find a solution to the matter.
CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) said the decisions made by the World Court regarding the Lockerbie case were preliminary in nature, but they also stated that the merits of the Libyan application would be considered at the next stage of the process. On that occasion, the question of the applicability of the Montreal Convention to the case would be addressed. A ruling of the Court on that matter would inevitably have bearing on how the Council assessed the conditions for Libya's compliance with the relevant resolutions. Brazil hoped that the international community would be able to find a generally acceptable solution which could make it possible to establish the responsibility for the heinous acts.
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Discussion within the Sanctions Committee would greatly benefit from statistical data and verifiable information on the possible links between humanitarian difficulties in Libya and United Nations imposed sanctions, he said. In that context, the Petrovsky report touched on various relevant issues which were now part of those discussions. Brazil reaffirmed its position that the imposing of sanctions must also be linked to the performance of limited, concrete and specific acts that were essentially required by decisions of the Council. Such acts must be specially set out by the Council, so that the State on which sanctions were imposed might be able to know in advance that the sanctions would be lifted as soon as those specific requirements were met. Brazil hoped that the goals would require all Council resolutions to be accomplished, thereby allowing the sanctions against Libya to be lifted.
DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said his Government had firmly condemned the acts of terrorism that caused the deaths of over 400 people in the bombing of the UTA and Pan Am flights. Gabon also reaffirmed the need to combat international terrorism. Following those acts, the Council had adopted and imposed sanctions against Libya. Despite the firmness displayed by the Council, the most vulnerable sectors of the Libyan population had been punished more than those allegedly responsible for the criminal acts. That situation was confirmed by the report of the recent fact-finding mission to Libya.
The families of the victims were patiently waiting for justice to be done and for compensation to be made, he said. The status quo prevailing for the past seven years served neither their legitimate expectations nor the interest of justice. Now was the time to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. The options presented by the Arab League and the OAU seemed to be an acceptable compromise. They provided that the suspects would be tried in a third and neutral country chosen by the Council, in a Scottish court, or by a special penal tribunal established by the International Court of Justice.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that for seven years, the Council had been seized by three Governments -- France, the United Kingdom and the United States -- which were convinced that Libyan nationals had been involved in terrorist acts which killed 441 people on the Pan Am and UTA flights. Following a thorough investigation of the attack on the UTA flight, four international arrest warrants were issued for Libyan nationals. It was not until 1996, however, that the Libyan authorities showed any desire to cooperate with the French magistrate. That year, the Head of State of Libya expressed a desire to meet with the French magistrate, and subsequent cooperation made it possible to issue two additional arrest warrants for Libyan nationals.
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In due course, Libyan authorities must assume all the consequences of a conviction of their nationals, he said. So far, there had been no progress in the Lockerbie case. The United Kingdom and the United States demands had not been satisfied, and France was awaiting Libya to meet the requests addressed to it.
The International Court of Justice was the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, but its recent judgments were procedural in nature, he said. The Court would subsequently decide on the substance on the matter. Its recent decisions in no way affected the actions of the Council. The perpetrators must be punished and families of victims must know the truth and receive due compensation. Libya must comply with the Council's requirements in order to solve the current impasse.
Having considered the report of the fact-finding mission, France believed that, in addition to exemptions for medicines and new aircraft, other exemptions to the sanctions regime could be considered, he said. After many years of inertia, significant progress had been made in the UTA case, and his Government hoped that cooperation would be forthcoming in the Pan Am case. Sanctions were not meant to punish a country but to ensure compliance with international law.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) paid tribute to the families of the victims of Pan Am flight 103 and said it was high time that justice was done and that the two accused were handed over to face trial in Scotland. The solution to the issue lay in the hands of the Libyan Government. It had only to comply with Council resolutions and hand over the two suspects in order for sanctions to be lifted. Libya had refused for over six years to comply. Instead, it had sought to enlist other United Nations Members behind its policies of non-compliance, based on misrepresentations about the trial process, about the impact of sanctions and, most recently, about the preliminary ruling of the International Court of Justice.
Hopefully, the OAU and the Arab League would not be used to undermine the Council's resolutions, and their influence would eventually be used to bring about Libya's acceptance of international law and justice for the victims.
Making an exception for Libya would harm the United Nations and its authority more generally, he said. "Are we now to establish as a new norm that those accused of crimes of international terrorism may choose the place of their trial when it suits them? Which other Member States here present would countenance that after the murder of innocent people in its own territory and jurisdiction?" he asked.
Addressing the question of the fairness of a trial of the two accused in Scotland, he said Libya had formally stated that it had no reservations about the fairness of Scottish justice. Its claims that the climate of press and
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public opinion in Scotland would render a fair trial impossible were untrue. There was no TV in court and no media circus in Scotland, where the legal system had strict rules on prejudicial publicity and contempt of court.
He said it was regrettable that invitations from the British Government to the Arab League and the OAU to send missions to Scotland to see Scottish justice first hand rather than accept the Libyan Government's own propaganda were rejected. The Secretary-General's own expert mission had concluded that the Scottish legal system was fair and independent, that the accused would receive a fair trial under the Scottish judicial system; and that their rights during the pre-trial, trial and post-trial proceedings would be fully protected in accordance with international standards. His country would also welcome international observers from the United Nations, the OAU, the Arab League and Libya.
The report of the Secretary-General's expert mission found that the speediest and fairest route would be through the Scottish courts in Scotland, he said. Moving the trial to a third country would be without precedent and could offer another opportunity for prevarication and procedural delay. In the past, Libya said that it could not require the accused to stand trial in Scotland.
On the subject of sanctions, he said the report of the United Nations fact-finding mission to Libya in December 1997 did not support Libya's claims that the Council's resolutions were unjust because of the impact of sanctions. Indeed, to claim that air travel restrictions had a major humanitarian impact was implausible. The sanctions had been carefully targeted to minimize their impact on the Libyan population. The vast majority of the country's imports and exports were unaffected, including all medicines and other humanitarian supplies and Libya's oil production had increased since 1996.
The report also stated that Libya was not making full use of existing exemptions for humanitarian emergencies, he said. On medevac flights, the United Nations Secretariat provided a 24-hour service to deal with requests for emergency evacuation flights every day of the year. There had been no problems with medevacs in 1998, nor had any medevacs been prevented in previous years when agreed procedures were observed. Earlier this week, the Sanctions Committee repeated its willingness to increase the number of destinations for medevacs and to replace Libyan medevac aircraft. The Chairman of that Committee said it would consider all necessary steps to ensure that Libya had the means safely and expeditiously to perform medevac flights. In addition, the Sanctions Committee had always shown its respect for the religious obligations of Libyan Muslims by facilitating arrangements to allow them to perform the Haj.
He then turned to the recent decisions of the International Court of Justice, stating that a 4 March letter by the Libyan Permanent Representative grossly misrepresented the facts. The Court had ruled on preliminary
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objections lodged by the United Kingdom and United States to the Libyan claim that under the Montreal Convention, it had the exclusive right to try the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing. The Court decided that it had jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the Libyan case about the Convention. It did not decide that Libya's claim to try the case in Libya was justified, and there had been no decision on that question at all.
The United Kingdom was arguing before the Court that the matter was governed by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, which obliged Libya to surrender the two accused for trial in Scotland or the United States, he said. Obligations under the United Nations Charter, including compliance with Council resolutions, took precedence over any other alleged international obligations. The Court decided on 27 February that the United Kingdom point was a substantive one, and that it could not be ruled on in a preliminary way; rather, the case should be considered at a full hearing.
The Court decided that the substance of the question, concerning the interpretation of the Montreal Convention and the respective authority of the Convention and the Council's resolutions, should be fully considered, he said. That decision was just one stage in the judicial proceedings, with the main argument on the merits still to come. The United Kingdom Government would contest the next phase of the case vigorously. Its argument on the binding nature of those resolutions and their overriding authority had implications beyond the facts of the current case, and should be of great concern for all States who were anxious to uphold the Council's authority and its decisions.
The Court's decision was not a decision that Libya's claim was valid nor was it in any way a decision on the merits of the case against the two accused, he said. It was not a decision that Libya -- or the World Court for that matter, which had no jurisdiction to hear criminal cases -- should try the case against them. Most importantly, it was not a decision that Council resolutions, under which Libya was obliged to surrender the two for trial in Scotland or the United States, were invalid. Those resolutions were unaffected by the Court's ruling and therefore remained in force.
He said that Libya was under international obligations adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter, with which it had not yet complied. Libya's claims that the ruling relieves it of its obligations to hand over the two accused for trial in Scotland or the United States were false. Its application that it should no longer be called upon to surrender the two accused because of these proceedings had already been rejected by the World Court in 1992.
MOMODOU LAMIN SEDAT JOBE, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Gambia, said Gambia could imagine the pain, anguish and frustration of the families of the victims of the ill-fated Pan Am 103 flight. Unless justice was done, the world's collective conscience would never be clear. The Gambian Government would like the matter to be laid to rest as quickly as possible.
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It was confident that the long-established ties of friendship and cooperation that existed between each of the countries concerned could be relied on. The Gambia would take the extra mile necessary to break the log-jam over the question of venue of the trial of the two suspects.
He said if Libya was not willing to cooperate, the OAU and the other organizations would not have been able to come up with their practical and constructive package. It was not designed to stand-up to any country. On the contrary, it was designed to allow a move forward.
He said the World Court had presented a new element. The Gambia believed that the opportunity should not be allowed to slip away. Let us seize this opportunity to give the whole world a chance to see Scottish justice at its best, and in the finest tradition of the British legal system, he added. Calls for the trial to be held in a neutral venue, only sought greater impartiality and neutrality to reassure the accused that they would be given a fair trial. That did not in any way diminish faith in Scottish justice. Insisting too much on holding the trial in Scotland and nowhere else did not help the situation. The bottom line was to proceed with the trial under Scottish law in a third country. As long as there was no compromise on the principle of trying the suspects, "the venue should not hold us to ransom".
Referring to the Council's decision to maintain the sanctions imposed on Libya following a review of the situation a few week ago, he said it was widely believed that humanitarian needs and religious considerations constituted an exception to the rule. In this context, Gambia strongly believed that with regard to such pressing matters as medical evacuations, and the replacement of aircraft used for medical purposes, the Council should encounter no difficulties giving quick approval whenever the request was made.
For Muslims throughout the world, the annual pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca -- one of the fundamental pillars of Islam would take place within the next few weeks. The Haj was very demanding and the pilgrim needed all of his or her physical and mental energy to carry out all the rituals. Taking into account all these factors, Gambia believed that it would be in perfect order to make exceptions to the rule.
HUSSEIN HASSOUNA, Observer for the League of Arab States, affirmed the League's support for Libya in reaching a peaceful settlement, in order to avoid negative consequences affecting the people of Libya and of the region. In 1992, it set up a magisterial committee to follow developments in the case, and it set up contacts with all actors with a view to finding a solution to the problem.
Within the framework of international efforts to find a peaceful and just solution to the crisis, the League, in cooperation with the OAU and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, had submitted three options to the
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Council as a basis for solving the problem. Libya had shown great flexibility on the matter of accepting the jurisdiction of a Scottish court and on cooperating fully with the French judicial authorities. Yet it had insisted that the trial should take place in a neutral country with an atmosphere conducive to impartiality. Those undertakings by regional organization and others, which represented a majority of the international community, aimed to achieve a just and peaceful settlement of the problem. Such a settlement would need to be satisfactory to all parties concerned and to safeguard Libyan sovereignty.
The time had come to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people, he said. The members of the Council had examined the report of the fact-finding mission sent by the Secretary-General to Libya. It indicated the deteriorating economic, financial and social conditions in the country as a result of the continuing sanctions. Those sanctions acted as a collective punishment to an entire people, and their negative consequences extended to other countries in the region.
The International Court of Justice's recent decisions constituted an important step towards settling the dispute, he said. The Council should take into account those judgments because they gave a new legal dimension to the dispute and indicated a way of dealing with it. The Court had indicated that the Lockerbie incident was a legal dispute that fell within its jurisdiction. It was no longer acceptable to allow the sanctions to continue without establishing the responsibility of Libya or of the two suspects for the acts in question.
AMADOU KEBE, Observer for the Organization of African Unity, said that body condemned all acts of terrorism and strongly believed that a speedy, fair and just resolution of the dispute, in accordance with international law, would bring about the justice everyone desired. The OAU wanted to see a speedy resolution of the dispute between Libya and the United States and the United Kingdom. The three options that the OAU and the Arab League had put before the Council had the support of the Non-Aligned Group. Those three options signalled the willingness and the flexibility of Libya to seek a peaceful settlement of the dispute. It was therefore up to the Council to choose one of the three options.
Libya had in good faith accepted the three options in spite of its sovereign right to put its own nationals on trial, he said. The Council owed it to the people of Libya who had suffered tremendously over the past five years, as well as to the relatives of the victims of Pan Am flight 103, to accept one of the three options before it. That two of the parties to the dispute were permanent members of the Council made it imperative for the Council to assume that responsibility.
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The OAU, Arab League and Non-Aligned Group wanted to see justice, he said. The Council must take action that would establish the truth about the dispute and, in the process, bring about justice. It could not continue to watch the suffering and death of people affected by the sanctions. International law demanded that justice be done now, and that those found guilty of terrorist acts should face the consequences of their actions.
MAHAMADOU ABOU, Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the dispute between two countries and Libya remained a concern. The parties to any dispute must first find solutions through negotiations and judicial settlements. The Islamic Conference was convinced of the need to arrive at a speedy solution to the dispute, so the sanctions against Libya might be lifted. The dignity of the Libyan people had been violated, although no court of law had established their guilt. The presumption of innocence had been neglected in that case.
Libya had shown flexibility and the desire to cooperate in resolving the question, he said. The international community was totally mobilized behind Libya, as demonstrated by the statements of other representatives in today's debate. That mobilization, reinforced by the World Court's recent judgment, should make the Council appreciate the question before it. The Court's decisions could not be ignored. Whatever the interpretation of those judgments, they constituted new elements that must be taken into account in the next sanctions review. They also proved that the matter should be resolved in the appropriate forum, which respected international law.
Conditions in Libya were difficult, as confirmed in the report of the United Nations fact-finding team, he said. Proposals to ease the plight of the Libyan people had been put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other organizations, but they were not enough. The only action that needed to be taken was the suspension of the air embargo. That decision was just and humane and would only strengthen the Council's position.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), spoke on behalf of the European Union, and the associated Central and Eastern European countries of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungry, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia as well as Iceland.
He said the Union reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of all forms of terrorism which threatened international peace and security. It stressed the need to strengthen international cooperation between States, international and regional organizations, agencies and the United Nations in order to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism wherever and by whomsoever committed. Council decisions with regard to Libya were guided by the desire to curb international terrorism, and to ensure that justice was done.
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The European Union deeply regretted that after the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 those accused had still not been brought to justice. The Union called on Libya to comply fully with Council resolutions particularly to ensure the appearance of those charged with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 for trial before the appropriate United Kingdom or United States court.
The finding in the Secretary-General's report made clear that the Scottish judicial system was fair and independent; that the two accused would receive a fair trial there. The recent press statement by the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee emphasizing its readiness to continue to respond promptly to requests for humanitarian exemptions was welcome.
Regarding the recent decisions of the International Court of Justice, he said the Union noted that these decisions were procedural in nature, and that the Court would consider the arguments on the substance of the cases in full, before reaching a final judgment. The Court had not pronounced on the merits of the Libyan claim concerning the applicability of the Montreal Convention. Nor did those decisions affect relevant Council resolutions, which remained in full force. Libya must comply with them as required by the Charter.
Regarding the bombing of flight UTA 772, he said the European Union noted that the cooperation with French judicial authorities finally satisfied most of the French demands, although some of them had still not been met. That cooperation had enabled the investigating magistrate to make significant progress by giving him the opportunity to issue two additional arrest warrants for Libyan nationals and to complete the file of the inquiry. It had opened the way to the trial in absentia, as permitted under French law, of the six suspects.
Libya's declaration that it no longer supported terrorism and the steps it had taken to end its support for terrorism was noted. Nevertheless, its failure to comply fully with Council resolutions was a serious obstacle to the development of its relations with the international community. Only when Libya complied fully with the relevant resolutions would the sanctions be lifted.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said that since the two Libyan suspects were accused of the bombing of Pan Am 103, Libya had conformed with international laws and covenants. From the beginning of the dispute, Libya had called for the application of the 1971 Montreal Convention. Libya had opened an investigation on the suspects and had proposed that the United Kingdom and the United States send their own investigators to the country or allow Libya to participate in their investigations. It had also invited the Secretary- General to set up a commission of judges to investigate the charges against the accused. Further, Libya had declared that it would hold negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom under the auspices of the Secretary- General with a view to holding the process in a neutral State acceptable to the parties to the conflict.
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The Organization of African Unity had made every effort to solve the dispute through international forums and it had adopted resolutions expressing Libya's desire to settle the dispute peacefully, he said. The OAU had invited the Security Council to revise resolutions 731 (1992), 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) with a view to lifting the sanctions against Libya, and had invited all the parties to begin negotiations. The OAU had proposed the following options: to try the two suspects in a neutral country chosen by the Security Council; to try them at the World Court in The Hague by Scottish judges; or to create a special tribunal in The Hague.
The World Court judgment had confirmed the position of the African countries in support of finding a solution through peaceful means, he said. It was no longer necessary to continue the sanctions against Libya. The Court had decided that the Montreal Convention did apply to the dispute and that there was a real dispute between the United Kingdom and Libya and between the United States and Libya regarding the application of the Convention.
According to the Court, the rights of Libya under the Convention remained in force despite the Council's resolutions, he said. The Court had also rejected allegations that legal proceedings should be immediately halted on the presumption that Council resolutions could not be challenged before the Court. The sanctions against Libya should be suspended until the Court decided on the substance of the matter. That would reinforce the rule of law and alleviate the plight of the Libyan people.
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