SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES JOINT UNITED KINGDOM/UNITED STATES INITIATIVE, NETHERLANDS WILLINGNESS, TO TRY LIBYAN AIRLINE BOMBING SUSPECTS19980827
The Security Council tonight welcomed a joint United Kingdom-United States initiative for the trial of the two suspects before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands, as well as the willingness of the Netherlands Government to cooperate in implementing this initiative. It called on the Governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to take the necessary steps to implement the proposal, including the conclusion of arrangements to enable the court to exercise jurisdiction in the terms of the agreement between the two Governments.
The Council also demanded again that the Libyan Government comply without delay with its resolutions relating to the terrorist bombings of a United States airliner, Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, and a French airliner, Union de transports aeriens (UTA) flight 772, the following year.
By the terms of its resolution (1192 ), adopted unanimously, the Council decided that the Libyan Government should ensure the appearance of the two accused in the Netherlands for trial, and also ensure that any evidence or witnesses in Libya were promptly made available to the court upon request. It decided further that the suspects should be detained by the Dutch Government on arrival in the Netherlands and asked the Secretary-General to assist the Libyan Government with the physical arrangements for their transfer from Libya directly to the Netherlands.
The Council reaffirmed that the wide range of aerial, arms and diplomatic sanctions it imposed against Libya by its resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) remained in effect and binding on all Member States. It decided, however, that they would be suspended immediately once the Secretary- General reported that the two accused had arrived at the Netherlands for trial, or had appeared before an appropriate court in the United Kingdom or the United States, and that the Libyan Government had satisfied French judicial authorities investigating the 1989 bombing of UTA flight 772 over Niger, in which 171 people died. A total of 270 people were killed in the air and on the ground when a bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the Scottish village of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.
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The Council expressed its intention to consider additional measures if the two accused did not arrive or appear for trial promptly in the Netherlands. It invited the Secretary-General to nominate international observers to attend the trial.
(By its resolution 731 , the Council demanded immediate compliance by Libya to the requests made to it by France, the United Kingdom and the United States to cooperate fully in establishing responsibility for the terrorist acts against the two airliners. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council by resolutions 748  and 883  repeated those demands. Resolution 883  also required Libya to ensure that the two accused in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 appeared for trial in the appropriate United Kingdom or United States court.)
Statements were made by the representatives of the United States, Portugal, France, Brazil, Russian Federation, Japan, Sweden, Gambia, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Gabon, China, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. A representative of Libya also spoke.
The meeting, which was convened at 9:44 p.m., adjourned at 11:10 p.m.
Security Council Work Programme
The Security Council met tonight to consider the situation regarding the terrorist attacks on a United States airliner, Pan Am flight 103, and French airliner Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) flight 772 in 1988 and 1989 respectively. It has before it a number of letters, five of them addressed to the Secretary-General by the Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States, containing accounts and conclusions of legal procedures concerning the attacks on the two airliners as well as related statements and declarations.
Also before the Council is a letter from the United Kingdom and the United States, addressed to the President of the Security Council, proposing that two suspects in the attack on Pan Am flight 103 be tried by Scottish judges in the Netherlands.
A 20 December 1991 letter from the Permanent Representative of France (document S/23306) 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 19 September 1989 attack against UTA flight 772 over Niger, in which 171 people died. 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 respond to requests made by the examining magistrate.
Enclosed in a letter dated 20 December 1991 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom (document S/23307) 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. All the 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 it 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, the United Kingdom and the United States (document S/23309) forwards the text of a tripartite declaration on terrorism, by the three States. They reaffirm their condemnation of all forms of terrorism and denounce any
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complicity of States in terrorism acts; state that the responsibility of States begins whenever they take part directly or indirectly in terrorist actions; require 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 .
The Permanent Representative of the United States, in a letter dated 23 December 1991 (document S/23317), transmitted 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.
The Council also had before it a 24 August letter, addressed to the Secretary-General (S/1998/795), in which the Acting Permanent Representatives of the United Kingdom and of the United States declare that their Governments were gravely concerned that, almost 10 years after the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, those accused had not yet stood trial. Several years had passed since the Security Council, in resolutions 731 (1992), 748 (1992) and 883 (1993), required Libya to ensure the appearance of the two accused for trial in the appropriate United Kingdom or United States court.
The letter goes on to state that in the interest of resolving the situation in a way which will allow justice to be done, their Governments were prepared, as an exceptional measure, to arrange for the two accused to be tried before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. "After close consultation with the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, we are pleased to confirm that the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has agreed to facilitate arrangements for such a Court." It would be a Scottish court and would follow normal Scots law and procedure in every respect, except for the replacement of the jury by a panel of three Scottish High Court judges. Arrangements would be made for international observers to attend the trial.
The letter goes on to indicate that the two accused would have safe passage from Libya to the Netherlands for the purpose of the trial, and would enjoy the protection afforded by Scottish law. They would be able to choose Scottish solicitors and advocates to represent them. Attached to this document is a text of an agreement between the Government of the Netherlands and the Government of the United Kingdom on the sitting of the Scottish court in the Netherlands.
A letter from the Charge d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Libya, dated 25 August (document S/1998/803), addressed to the President of the Security Council, requests postponement of action on a draft resolution on the subject until Libya's judicial authorities have completed their study of the new documents relating to the case.
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Developments in Case
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. 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 21 January 1992, the Security Council condemned the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 and UTA flight 772 and urged the Libyan Government immediately to respond fully and effectively to the request by France, the United Kingdom and the United States for its cooperation in the establishment of responsibility for the terrorist attacks against the airliners. The Council urged all States individually and collectively to encourage the Libyan Government to do so.
On 31 March 1992, the Security Council adopted resolution 748 (1992), by which it imposed aerial, arms and diplomatic sanctions against Libya until that Government complied with the requests of France, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Libyan Government was urged to commit itself definitively to cease all forms of terrorist action and all assistance to terrorist groups, and to promptly, by concrete actions, demonstrate its renunciation of terrorism.
Those measures 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 27 February, the International Court of Justice determined 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 hand down a judgment on
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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.)
Also before the Council was a letter dated 26 August from Libya's Charge d'affaires addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/1998/808), transmitting a communique issued on the same date by Libya's General People's Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The communique contained Libya's response to the letter dated 24 August from the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States to the Secretary- General.
In its communique, annexed to the text, the Committee recalled human and material losses and sufferings endured by the Libyan people as a result of the imposition of unfair sanctions for seven years, and because of the refusal to accept initiatives like the current one which had been proposed in the attempt to find a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution. The 27 February Judgment of the International Court of Justice confirmed the inadmissibility of sanctions, the text states.
The Committee regretted that so many years had to pass before the solution -- supported by every international organization -- was finally accepted, the document states. In accepting the current evolution in the position of the United Kingdom and the United States, Libya emphasized the need to end the sanctions imposed under Council resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993). It hoped the Governments of the United Kingdom and United States wanted to finally settle the issue, and would give positive consideration to the proposed measure, according it all due importance and care.
The text of a draft resolution before the Council (S/1998/809) submitted by the United Kingdom and the United States, reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming its resolutions 731 (1992) of 21 January 1992, 748 (1992) of 31 March 1992 and 883 (1993) of 11 November 1993,
"Noting the report of the independent experts appointed by the Secretary-General (S/1997/991),
"Having regard to the contents of the letter dated 24 August 1998 from the Acting Permanent Representatives of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the United States of America to the Secretary- General (S/1998/795),
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"Noting also, in light of the above resolutions, the communications of the Organization of African Unity, the League of Arab States, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Islamic Conference (S/1994/373, S/1995/834, S/1997/35, S/1997/273, S/1997/406, S/1997/497, S/1997/529) as referred to in the letter of 24 August 1998,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Demands once again that the Libyan Government comply without delay with resolutions 731 (1992), 748 (1992) and 883 (1993);
"2. Welcomes the initiative for the trial of the two persons charged with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 ('the two accused') before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands, as contained in the letter dated 24 August 1998 from the Acting Permanent Representatives of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the United States of America ('the initiative') and its attachments, and the willingness of the Government of the Netherlands to cooperate in the implementation of the initiative;
"3. Calls upon the Government of the Netherlands and the Government of the United Kingdom to take such steps as are necessary to implement the initiative, including the conclusion of arrangements with a view to enabling the court described in paragraph 2 to exercise jurisdiction in the terms of the intended Agreement between the two Governments, attached to the said letter of 24 August 1998;
"4. Decides that all States shall cooperate to this end, and in particular that the Libyan Government shall ensure the appearance in the Netherlands of the two accused for the purpose of trial by the court described in paragraph 2, and that the Libyan Government shall ensure that any evidence or witnesses in Libya are, upon the request of the court, promptly made available at the court in the Netherlands for the purpose of the trial;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General, after consultation with the Government of the Netherlands, to assist the Libyan Government with the physical arrangements for the safe transfer of the two accused from Libya direct to the Netherlands;
"6. Invites the Secretary-General to nominate international observers to attend the trial;
"7. Decides further that, on the arrival of the two accused in the Netherlands, the Government of the Netherlands shall detain the two accused pending their transfer for the purpose of trial before the court described in paragraph 2;
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"8. Reaffirms that the measures set forth in its resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) remain in effect and binding on all Member States, and in this context reaffirms the provisions of paragraph 16 of resolution 883 (1993), and decides that the aforementioned measures shall be suspended immediately if the Secretary-General reports to the Council that the two accused have arrived in the Netherlands for the purpose of trial before the court described in paragraph 2 or have appeared for trial before an appropriate court in the United Kingdom or the United States, and that the Libyan Government has satisfied the French judicial authorities with regard to the bombing of UTA 772;
"9. Expresses its intention to consider additional measures if the two accused have not arrived or appeared for trial promptly in accordance with paragraph 8;
"10. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said that for "a mere suspicion" of two persons, and without any evidence, those persons were linked to an incident which took place many years ago, an incident which had not threatened international peace and security, the Security Council had adopted resolution 731 (1992), in clear contravention of the United Nations Charter.
The Libyan Government immediately lodged a protest with the International Court of Justice, he recalled. Yet, the Security Council, thereafter, adopted resolutions 768 and 783 (1993), which imposed embargoes on Libya that also contravened the Charter. Libya had continued to suffer from this embargo, imposed by "the law of the jungle" rather than by the force of law.
He said that in the light of the feelings of the international community and the correctness of Libya's position, several organizations had put forward a number of proposals. Those initiatives, however, were completely disregarded by the other two parties to the dispute. Yet after much time and in view of recent developments in support of Libya's position on the matter, the other party finally expressed acceptance of a trial in a third country. The international community seemed to have agreed within hours to what was agreed to by Libya for many years.
In addition to law and judges, there were many other complicated and detailed issues which had to be considered from a strictly judicial point of view, including the right of the two suspects to be defended at all times, he said.
Continuing, he stated that Libya was placed in a difficult situation, given the demands that it accept the recent proposal within hours. Indeed,
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time was needed to look into all the legal documents, which were very complicated. Such a deadline merely added to Libya's doubts, which were both historic and current. The other party had suspended a decision under the pretext that it had required sufficient time for experts to look into the judgements.
He said that Libya reaffirmed that it welcomed the acceptance by the United States and the United Kingdom of the proposals already made by the League of Arab States and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and as supported by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement more than four years ago. The parties' acceptance of that proposal was a positive step that would likely lead to a just and satisfactory solution to that long and lasting dispute. Libya accepted that the two suspects be tried in a Scottish court in the Netherlands by Scottish judges, according to Scottish law. It reaffirmed that position today and had already indicated its serious and irreversible position. It was hoped that the other party would likewise be serious in its position.
Libya's judicial authorities, however, had the duty and the right to consider the various judicial, procedural and legal issues, he said. Those authorities were prepared to do so, either directly with judicial authorities of the States concerned, or with the Secretary-General. Libya looked forward to closing the file. Libya had proved its flexibility. The present draft before the Council contained legitimate legal questions under the heading of a procedural text. Moreover, it ignored his country's denunciation and condemnation of terrorism, including its calls for an international conference to combat it.
Statements before Vote
A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said that with the adoption of the resolution, the Security Council had taken an important step towards obtaining a measure of justice for the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing and their families. The arrangements endorsed in the resolution would assure a fair trial for the two Libyan suspects.
The proceedings, he stated, would be consistent with the requirements of United Nations resolutions as well as United States, British and Dutch law. The terms of the resolution and modalities of the trial had been carefully crafted by legal experts and were based on the decisions of the international community, as reflected in Security Council resolutions 731, 748 and 883.
He thanked the Government of the Netherlands for helping to bring about the arrangements endorsed in the resolution.
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The United States regretted the negative tone of the statement of the Libyan representative, he said. What was needed now from the Libyans was not equivocal or conditional statements, but simple, straightforward acceptance. The United States looked now to the Libyan Government for prompt action. It expected their deeds to be proof of their stated intentions.
He said that for Libya, dealing positively with the resolution could mean one thing alone: ensuring that the two suspects presented themselves to stand trial in the Netherlands without delay. Libya would be required, he said, to live up to its explicit commitment to cooperate in bringing the defendants to trial under Scottish law, with Scottish judges, in a neutral third country. The United States, the Security Council and the world community were watching. Most importantly, he said, the family members of the 270 victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing were watching. Failure by Libya to act promptly to ensure the appearance of the defendants would be a monumental breach of faith which would compel the Security Council to act appropriately in response. The United States hoped that that would not be necessary.
The United States, he said, called upon the nations and organizations that had recently endorsed the sort of arrangement contained in the resolution, to urge Libya to turn over the two defendants. Just as the United States would be watching Libya's response to the resolution, it would be carefully gauging their response. It expected unequivocal support for the resolution.
He also reaffirmed United States support for France in its ongoing investigation of the UTA bombing. The United States expected Libya to take the necessary steps for the trial of the suspects to proceed without further delay. The international community and the families of the victims had waited long enough.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said that last March, in an open debate concerning the item before the Council, his country had welcomed the proposals put forward by the OAU and the League of Arab States to find a compromise solution to the question related to the bombing of the Pan Am and UTA airliners. Those proposals, with the objective of avoiding further delay of justice and to put an end to the suffering of the Libyan people, were envisaged by Portugal as a constructive political effort. Portugal believed that justice delayed was justice denied -- first of all to the relatives of the victims, and to the whole international community, which was defending itself against terrorism and upholding international law. Justice delayed, was also justice denied to the innocent Libyan people who were enduring sanctions imposed on their country.
He said that any compromise solution should be consistent with the legal and political aspects enshrined in the Security Council resolutions. Sight
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should not be lost of the goal of enabling justice to be rendered. Portugal was convinced that the time had come for the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, to find more efficient ways to bring the matter to an end. His delegation acknowledged in particular the efforts undertaken by the United Kingdom and the United States to find alternative solutions that enabled the Security Council to respond fully to the concerns of the international community. It also thanked the Government of the Netherlands for its indispensable cooperation. The resolution put forward revealed the vitality of the Council. Through its decisive action today, justice would finally be able to emerge and sanctions would be lifted. It was confident that opportunity accorded by the resolution would not be missed.
PHILIPPE THIEBAUT (France) said his Government welcomed the initiative of the United Kingdom and the United States for holding the trial of the suspects in a third country, namely the Netherlands. France, the United Kingdom and the United States had appealed in the past to the Council to act on the issue. France expected Libya to fulfil the commitments it had made in the past on proposals that the trial be held in a third country. France had kept the Council informed of its investigations of the bombing of the UTA airliner and would continue to keep it and the Secretary-General informed on new developments. He said the measures imposed against Libya by the Council in its resolution 883 should not be affected by today's action.
CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) praised the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States for accepting a compromise solution that had been supported by a great number of Member States. The Government of the Netherlands also deserved commendation for its creative assistance. He hoped the Libyan Government would cooperate fully. It was important to note that diplomatic efforts had been essential in devising the present solution.
Libya's performance of actions set out in Council resolutions would allow for the suspension of sanctions, with a view to their lifting, he said. Five years ago, Brazil had indicated its conviction that the imposition of sanctions must always be linked to the performance of limited and concrete acts that were required by Council decisions. Such acts must be specifically set out by the Council, so that the State on which sanctions were imposed could know that the sanctions would be lifted upon the meeting of certain requirements. With that same conviction, Brazil was voting in favour of the current resolution.
Brazil strongly condemned any kind of terrorist act for any reason, and was committed to international cooperation to eradicate the scourge, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and within the framework of international law, he said. He expressed respect to the families of the victims, who had the right to expect that justice would be done.
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YURIY V. FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said that since the imposition of sanctions, Libya had made progress relating to terrorism, and it had cooperated in the successful resolution of the UTA 772 incident. Yet, the deadlock in the Lockerbie matter had prevented Libya's complete compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions. The Russian Federation had consistently favoured the exploration of acceptable solutions regarding the venue and format for the trial of two suspects.
Such solutions had been put forward by the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the OAU and the Non-Aligned Movement, he said. The present initiative by the United States and the United Kingdom was "on the right track". The draft resolution submitted today sought a practical implementation of that option, as well as a fair trial with due guarantees for the rights of the accused. It was exceptionally important that once the two suspects arrived in the Netherlands, sanctions against Libya would be terminated.
He said he favoured a firm halt to international terrorism. Today's decision by the Council, as outlined in the draft resolution, had opened the way, not only to resolving the Lockerbie case, but to finally closing the "Libya problem" in the Council. It was important to have the cooperation of all sides in implementing the resolution.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said Japan vigorously condemned terrorism in all its forms, and had appealed repeatedly for the Libyan Government to comply with the Council's resolutions. The prolonged stalemate was undesirable from the viewpoint of the authority of the Security Council and the United Nations system.
The exceptional initiative of the United Kingdom and the United States in arranging for the suspects to be tried before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands was in line with the proposal of the League of Arab States, for which the Libyan Government had already indicated support, and which had been endorsed by the OAU, the Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement, he said. Japan paid tribute to the United Kingdom and the United States for their determination to resolve the deadlocked situation and thus maintain the Council's authority. Japan also commended the Netherlands for its cooperation.
He said Japan welcomed Libya's confirmation that it would deal positively with the proposal and give it the attention it deserved. He hoped Libya would respond promptly and positively to the initiative by delivering the suspects, thus paving the way for resolution of the tragic situation and for the lifting of the sanctions under which the Libyan people had been suffering. Japan supported adoption of the resolution.
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HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said international terrorism constituted a threat to individual lives, as well as international peace and security. The search for clarity and justice in the cases of Pan Am flight 103 and UTA flight 772 had never ceased. This was owed to the victims, three of whom were Swedish citizens, and to their families. Instigators and perpetrators of acts of terrorism must understand that the international community was committed to bringing them to justice and preventing future acts.
In the case of Pan Am flight 103, Libya's refusal to surrender the two suspects for trial had prompted the Security Council to impose sanctions, he recalled. The Swedish Government welcomed the initiative now being taken by the United Kingdom and the United States, in cooperation with the Netherlands, which would open the way for a trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands.
The initiative was in line with proposals previously put forward by the Arab League and the OAU, among others, and which had been accepted by Libya, he said. Sweden urged Libya to cooperate fully so that today's resolution could be implemented without further delay. Sanctions would be immediately suspended when the Secretary-General reported the arrival of the two Lockerbie suspects in the Netherlands and that the Libyan Government had satisfied the French judicial authorities in the UTA case. Sweden sincerely hoped Libya would seize the current opportunity so justice could be achieved.
MAUDO TOURAY (Gambia) said his country had on numerous occasions advocated a speedy solution to the impasse created by the imposition of sanctions against Libya. Gambia had always emphasized that a solution agreeable to the parties would be mutually beneficial, as justice would be done to the bereaved families, and Libya would be relieved of the burden of sanctions.
He said that in a bid to find a solution to the impasse, the OAU, the League of Arab States and the Movement of Non-Aligned countries had came up with an initiative that would allay the fears of the Libyan authorities for a just and fair trial and, at the same time ensure justice to the bereaved persons. The initiative had resulted in the proposal for a trial in a third country -- the Netherlands -- by Scottish judges and according to Scottish law and procedure. Libyan authorities had since indicated their acceptance of the proposal on several occasions, the latest being 26 August.
The resolution under consideration, he said, was historic as it was setting the pace for the possibility of the resumption of normal life in Libya without sanctions, and opening the doors for Libya to regain its rightful place in the international community. It was also historic because for the first time in international legal affairs, a court would sit outside its jurisdiction. The decision by the United Kingdom and the United States to
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agree to these procedures should be cheered as an heroic move geared towards putting to rest a problem that had bedevilled everyone for 10 years. The time for making good on promises made had come. His delegation had no doubt that Libya would comply with its obligations. His delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said that his country condemned all terrorism, all perpetrators and all those who provided haven for their acts. In sympathy with the families of the victims, he hoped justice was near. Bahrain also reaffirmed the call for an international conference aimed at combatting terrorism.
Following years of deadlock in the Security Council, despite many efforts, as well as the imposition of sanctions, the United States/United Kingdom initiative was a positive development, he said. It had been one of three initiatives set forth by the League of Arab States to resolve the Lockerbie issue. The positive response by Libya to the initiative, which it had previously accepted when it was set forth initially, was also welcome.
He said that the draft resolution before the Council called for suspending the sanctions imposed on Libya, once the two suspects were tried. Today's development would hopefully be the first step towards lifting sanctions against Libya, and closing the Lockerbie file. The imposition of sanctions could not be unlimited. Rather, that required a distinct objective and a known deadline in order to avoid subjecting any country's citizens to increased suffering with the passage of time.
While the issue of the trial, according to the United States/United Kingdom initiative and accepted by Libya, had many legal implications and procedures, the parties concerned would hopefully reach agreement, he said. A positive atmosphere surrounding the trial, as well as achieving the desired results, required proper preparation.
SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said terrorism should be condemned and combatted by the international community, together and by all means. He welcomed the draft resolution, which should allow those accused of the Pan Am bombing to be brought to trial.
The draft text was a logical result of the sanctions regime imposed against Libya, he said. Costa Rica had stated on several occasions that any sanctions regime must be carefully crafted. Sanctions should always be a temporary measure and should not be used to punish innocents. Sanctions should be accompanied by an ongoing dialogue.
He expressed gratitude to the OAU, the Non-Aligned Movement and others for their positive contributions that had made possible the draft resolution
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before the Council. He also praised the United Kingdom and the United States for their efforts and thanked the Netherlands Government for providing facilities for the trial to take place. Costa Rica had no doubt that the Libyan authorities would keep their word in producing the suspects for trial.
DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said that the agreement by the United Kingdom and the United States to try the suspects in the Netherlands was a response to one of the proposals made previously on several occasions. That decision could only be welcomed, however, for it might lead to a possible solution of the dispute which had lasted some 10 years and which had threatened international relations.
Similarly, the decision had given hope to families of victims who had waited so long for justice to be done, he said. Gabon was convinced that the parties would do their utmost to ensure a resolution of the technical and legal aspects of the matter, thereby paving the way for the Council to lift the sanctions it had earlier imposed.
Given the spirit of the draft resolution, including the request to the Secretary-General to ensure that all security conditions would be guaranteed for the two accused, his delegation would vote in favour of the text.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said his country had all along called for a flexible approach in order to find an early solution to the Lockerbie question. Based on that position, China welcomed the latest positive development and the spirit of compromise demonstrated by the parties concerned. The Arab League of States and the OAU had, for a long time, pursued effective results. All parties would hopefully continue to act in a positive and flexible spirit aimed at reaching agreement on all outstanding details, with a view to starting the trial as soon as possible.
China was deeply concerned at the long delay in settling the case, he said. Hopefully, the resolution before the Council would promote further cooperation among all parties and facilitate the early determination of truth in order to punish the perpetrators and uphold justice. The current positive development hopefully would facilitate the early lifting of sanctions against Libya, for the humanitarian consequences of protracted sanctions to the Libyan people could not be ignored. Moreover, the latest development and cooperation demonstrated by Libya should make it possible for the Council to take an early decision to lift the sanctions.
He said he regretted the fact that the sponsors of the draft had not incorporated some other constructive proposals from his side. There was no change in China's reservations on resolutions 748 and 883, referred to in the text.
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DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said the innovative arrangement opened a new way for a final and long-overdue settlement of the Lockerbie case. The initiative corresponded with one of the options advocated by the League of Arab States, the OAU, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Libya itself had repeatedly endorsed those options. There were, therefore, all reasons to expect that Libya would embrace the present initiative.
The United Nations had an important role to play in that development, he said. With the adoption of the present resolution, the Council would pave the way for a trial by enabling the countries concerned to take all steps to implement the initiative. The resolution required the Secretary-General to assume a pivotal role in assisting with arrangements for the safe transfer of the two accused, and to nominate international observers to attend the trial. The initiative had been meticulously elaborated. It provided for a fair and impartial trial, with all the necessary guarantees. It also strengthened the prospect of suspending and ultimately lifting the sanctions.
It was now up to the Libyan side to seize the opportunity and do its part for the success of the initiative, he said. He called on the Government to ensure the prompt appearance in the Netherlands of the two accused. In so doing, Libya would be fulfilling its own promises. It was also the way for Libya to move towards lifting the sanctions, bringing an end to the unnecessary suffering of its people.
The resolution proposed for action tonight represented an important contribution to the Council's work, he said. It opened up opportunities for the solution of several problems on the Council's agenda. The Council should be able to act with the same wisdom whenever required. Slovenia would vote in favour of the resolution.
Action on Draft
The Council the adopted the resolution unanimously.
Statement after Vote
STEPHEN GOMERSALL (United Kingdom) said the terrible acts this month in Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Omagh were stark reminders that terrorism spared nobody, and that it would not be defeated unless those responsible were brought to justice. The Pan Am and UTA flights, in which 440 persons had been killed, were savage and pre-meditated acts. For almost 10 years, the families of the victims had been seeking justice. In the seven years since warrants had been issued for the arrest of two Libyan nationals in connection with the destruction of the Pan Am flight, Libya had failed to carry out its obligation and hand over the accused.
Security Council - 16 - Press Release SC/6566 3920th Meeting (Night) 27 August 1998
Over the years, his Government had given repeated assurances about guarantees for the accused under Scots law, while Libya had repeatedly stated that it would accept a trial before a Scottish court sitting in a third country, he said. That the accused would receive a fair and impartial trial in Scotland with all due safeguards was confirmed by the independent experts appointed by the Secretary-General to examine Scottish legal procedures.
The United Kingdom would still prefer that the two accused be tried before a Scottish court in Scotland, he said. Those accused of terrorism had no right to determine their place of trial. Nevertheless, his Government had concluded that, in the interest of justice and to bring an end to the years of waiting for the victims' relatives, it would be possible to arrange for a Scottish court to sit in the Netherlands. The United Kingdom was deeply grateful to the Government of the Netherlands for responding positively to its request to hold the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands.
The decision had not been easy to take politically or to implement legally, he said. Conscious of the international community's desire for an end to the stalemate, the United Kingdom had acted on the proposal of the OAU and the Arab League, taken the necessary steps and put its initiative before the Council.
The adoption of the resolution provided an opportunity to justly resolve the matter in a manner acceptable to all concerned, he said. It was now a moment of truth for Libya. For years, Libya had promised it would accept a trial under Scottish law, with Scottish judges, in a third country. Libya should confirm through the Secretary-General, without delay, its clear and unequivocal acceptance. The arrangements for the trial contained no hidden conditions; the central requirement was the delivery of the accused to the Netherlands. If the Government was willing to do that without delay, everything would flow from there.
The resolution just adopted clearly stated that sanctions would be suspended once the Secretary-General confirmed that the accused had been delivered to the Netherlands and that the requirements of French justice had been met, he said. The United Kingdom and the United States had stated their commitment to that in their joint letter to the Secretary-General. The two Governments were also ready to do everything necessary to speedily put in place the legal and other arrangements, once Libya accepted the proposal in its entirety.
Respect for the role and decisions of the Security Council was a basic obligation and cornerstone of international order, he said. It was the responsibility of the entire international community to stand firm on terrorism and pursue justice for the victims. The Council was upholding those principles by the current resolution. He hoped those who had advocated the solution would now help deliver it.
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