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The Guvnor
8th Apr 2001, 13:31
From today's Sunday Times

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">UN man queries Lockerbie verdict

Joanne Robertson


A UNITED NATIONS observer has said the judgment of the
Scottish court in the Lockerbie bombing trial was inconsistent
and appeared to have been made under political influence.

Hans Koeschler, an expert on international law from Austria,
criticised the judgment in an address to a conference on the
Lockerbie trial in the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

The trial, which ended on Jan 31, convicted convicting
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a former Libyan
intelligence agent, of planting the bomb that blew up a Pan Am
jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people.

The court sentenced al-Megrahi to life imprisonment. It
acquitted his co-accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, a Libyan
Arab Airlines official, of all charges.

"The present judgment is logically inconsistent," Koeschler told
the opening of the two-day conference. He added his views
were his own and not the United Nations'.

"You cannot come out with a verdict of guilty for one and
innocent for the other when they were both being tried with the
same evidence," he said.

Koeschler said he had submitted his report on the trial to U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan who forwarded it to the Scottish
authorities.

It is understood to call for a fresh investigation, claiming the
guilty verdict against al-Megrahi was irrational and arbitrary.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said Koeschler's report and
comments appeared to be based on a misunderstanding of the
adversarial nature of the criminal justice system in Scotland
and other English-speaking countries.

"It involves a contest between prosecution and defence rather
than an inquiry carried out by judges.

"He does not appear to have understood it is for prosecution
and defence lawyers to investigate the case and decide what
evidence to present to the court. The suggestion that the
verdict was politically motivated again proceeds on a complete
misunderstanding of the function and the independence of the
judiciary."

Koeschler complained that the prosecutors changed the
indictment twice during the trial in an attempt to dissociate the
two defendants.

The professor of philosophy at Innsbruck University, was one of
five people appointed by Annan to observe the trial, which was
held at a former air base in the Netherlands.

"In my opinion, there seemed to be considerable political
influence on the judges and the verdict," Koeschler said after
his speech.

"My guess is that it came from the United States and the
United Kingdom. This was my impression," he said.

The conference, which is attended by Arab legal experts and
government officials, is expected to discuss Libyan demands
for sanctions to be abolished.

The sanctions, which include an air embargo, were suspended
after Libya handed over the two indicted men in 1999. The
United States and Britain have called for Libya to acknowledge
responsibility for the bombing and pay compensation before the
measures are scrapped.
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Who?
9th Apr 2001, 01:26
Thanks for the posting old bean, sure beats buying an aviation magazine when you post everything here on the web. Good luck with CalWings!!

SKYDRIFTER
9th Apr 2001, 01:45
OBVIOUS QUESTION, INDEED -

In a sentence, the appeal should be interesting.