Allow me at the outset to congratulate you, Mr. President, on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. And as an African brother, I am very pleased to see you guiding our debate.
I wish also to express to you, Mr. President, and to the
distinguished members of the Security Council our appreciation for holding
this open meeting. It is a very important step, which in my view would
be appreciated by the international community represented in the United
Nations as an indication towards compliance with the provisions of the
United Nations Charter. This meeting is being convened in application of
articles 31 and 32 of the Charter and in response to our second formal
request (documents S/1998/179 and S/1998/867).
I would also like to express our solidarity and our sympathy with the families of the victims, and our sadness at their suffering. Our hope is that a quick agreement will be reached on a solution of 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 Security Council has on its agenda today an item that goes seven years back [letters dated 20 and 23 December 1991 (document S/23306, S/23307, S/23308, S/23309, and S/23317)]. Some of these letters contained demands from the United States and the United Kingdom upon my country. The two countries chose to announce these demands first in a press conference, and not through the known legal channels and judicial procedures. Those demands were:
1) 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. This demand contradicts with the Libyan national law and most world laws relating to jurisdiction and non-extradition of citizens and contradicts with international customary law. It also contradicts with the 1971 Montreal Convention and even runs counter to the judgments of the United States Supreme Court which bars extradition in the absence of an extradition treaty. This is exactly the case between Libya and the United States and the United Kingdom.
2) Payment of compensation which is indeed an outrage for any legal conscience because it encroaches upon the defendant’s right to being innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, such a demand deviates from the right course of the law as regards to civil liability for any criminal act, especially state liability.Strange as they are, such demands are only relative to legal procedures and any dispute over them would be a legal one. This is exactly what Libya always emphasized and on these bases dealt with these demands.
3) The demand that Libya submits the evidence that proves the guilt of the two suspects. It is a well-known fact that Libya did neither accuse or suspect the two Libyan citizens. It was the United States and the United Kingdom who accused the two Libyan citizens and therefore, they themselves must provide the evidence and not Libya.
Allow me at this juncture to go over the developments of this dispute in a brief manner as it is important to my country, which has been suffering from collective sanctions for the last six (6) years of no wrong doing, without a court judgments, and without legal judicial basis, a suffering of severe magnitude - material and moral. Add to this, the suffering of the families of the victims of this tragic accident, who are like us, anxious to have the two suspects brought to trial in a just and fair court, to uncover the truth, and put an end to their suffering and that of our people.
Resolution 731 (1992) was adopted in a clear violation of the provisions and principles of the Charter of the United Nations whose paragraph 3 of article (27) states, "decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members, provided that, in decision, under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting…" And despite the fact that it was adopted under Chapter VI, the parties to the dispute did take part in the voting and did not abstain, as required.
Resolution 731 (1992) was also adopted in a clear violation of article (33) of the Charter whose paragraph 1 states the following, "the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements or the peaceful means of their own choice." Paragraph 2 of the same article states that "the Security Council, shall call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means".
Resolution 731 (1992) was also adopted in a clear violation of article 36 of the Charter whose paragraph 3 states the following, "in making recommendations under this article, the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should, as a general rule, be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice."
Also it is note worthy to recall that the tragic Lockerbie incident took place in 1988, that is four year prior to the adoption of these resolutions and that the suspicion was leveled against two individuals, which could not constitute a threat to the peace, no breaches of the peace, and no acts of aggression.
Libya’s response to the resolutions of the Security Council are as follows:
First: On the so-called terrorism:
When the file of terrorism across the ages, especially modern history is opened, memories of different generations might be blurred, which is only human, but the annals of history record everything. Humanity, all over the world, has suffered across the ages from terrorism whose consequences are still seen up till now. Countries have built cemeteries and monuments reflecting that terrorism and called them tombs of martyrs. Countries have also erected statues and monuments for the unknown soldiers. Scholastic curricula, for various classes in all countries, contain a recording of the suffering the countries have borne because of the terrorism of terrorist over the ages.
If this file is opened, we reserve the right to announce what would be impossible to refute. Our statements, in this respect, would cover all time and human history of the whole world. We could illustrate how most peoples of the world, including the Libyan people, have been victims of terrorism. Some of these peoples, including Libya, are still up until this moment, victims of terrorism. We can irrefutably prove this. We shall even prove that the existing political problems of various countries and regions, have been the creation and responsibility of those who now accuse us of terrorism.
Needless to say, the struggle against occupiers and colonialists for liberation is not terrorism. Liberation movements are not terrorist organizations. Suffice it to say that those who accuse us of terrorism, used to label those struggling for freedom, terrorists, or guerrillas. Now, after they liberated their countries, something that is a source of pride and happiness, they are recognized, received and red carpets are spread out for them. They are addressed by titled they deserve such as Your Excellencies, and Your Highnesses. Political relations are established with them and ambassadors exchanged. Several ambassadors and representatives in this organization used to struggle for liberty.
Libya has supported such people and stood by them, out of a belief that this is its duty towards them, and towards the cause of freedom, since they fought against those who used to occupy and colonized their countries. They did not fight outside their countries. We also did that because the stood by our side and helped us when our country was colonized, and because they fought against the hated racial discrimination exercised by the foreign occupiers coming from overseas. Now the whole world stands against racism, and we thank Allah for that.
Libya has never supported terrorism but has assisted in
the liberation struggle and there is a big difference between the two.
Second: On the trial of the two suspects:
In addition to all the offers, proposals and initiatives submitted or accepted, my country, out of its respect to the august Council, and in response to its resolutions, did the following:
My country has asked that the two suspects be treated in the same manner that the American citizen, Timothy McVeigh, the accused in the Oklahoma City bombing, was treated, Mr. McVeigh’s trial venue was transferred from the state where the crime was committed to another state, namely, Colorado because the environment of prior conviction in the place where the bombing took place would violate his human right to receive a fair trial. Libya recalls that human rights have no nationality (S/1997/518).
What has been previously stated demonstrate that the sanctions the Security Council adopted in accordance with its resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) are "collective punishment" against the entire Libya people as a result of nothing more than a mere suspicion in two of its citizens. And as such, they are blatant violations of all international instruments of human rights which stipulated that punishment are imposed because an unlawful act was proven to have been committee by a fully independent and impartial investigation, that the perpetrator has been tried and duly convicted by a fair and impartial court that reviewed the case in a fair and just manner.
The two Libyan citizens are mere suspects who have not been accused, have not been interrogated, have not been brought to trial, and have not been condemned in a court of law. Therefore, the sanctions imposed by the Security Council represent 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 which stipulates that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, to say nothing of the present case is no more than mere suspicion.
This "collective punishment" against the entire Libyan people is a blatant violation of the First article, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which stipulates "…in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence". Thus these sanctions violate the human rights of every and all persons of the Libyan Arab people, which have been guaranteed by the international bill of human rights:
As a result of all these, my country received strong and firm support from the international community.
In light of all this, the other party has nothing left to say or to argue except to repeat:
Allow me to briefly explain the situation:
First: Libya has done everything that it knows should be done. As I have mentioned earlier, Libya has responded to all demands addressed to it, and endeavored, in every way possible, to reach a solution to the dispute despite the fact that it has always been sure of the innocence of its citizens.
Second: As regards the implementation of the resolutions that have already been passed, and despite our reservations about the manner in which they were adopted, and despite the fact that were passed to avert my country a bigger evil and lesser damages than the military aggression, and inspite the fact they were adopted in violation of the Charter, my country responded fully to what was asked of her as has been explained. It is worth noting in this context that all Security Council resolutions are as a matter of fact, implemented through negotiation and dialogue.
Third: My country has affirmed, as it is confirmed in the two judgments of the International Court of Justice, and as attested to by most members of the Council, and the United Nations at large, that the problem is between my country and the United Kingdom and the United States, and not between my country and the Security Council. If their claims were true, why don’t they leave the matter to us, Libyans, and the Council to try to find a solution for the question? And why do they continually hinder the work of the Council whenever it tries to consider and find a solution? Why don’t they observe the provisions of the Charter and abstain from voting, since they are parties to the dispute?
It is no justice at all that a party to the dispute to be an adversary, a judge, and a jury at the same time, through its membership in the Council and its well-known privileges in that Council where the parties to the dispute act in a manner that violates and contradicts the Charter (articles 27, 33, and 36).
The observance by Libya of the Charter, in all phases of this question, confirms the extent of its dedication to and respect for the United Nations and all its organs, including the Security Council, and its respect of international law. This also shows who does not respect the United Nations, its Security Council, its Charter, its covenants, and work to manipulate them into tools in the service of their foreign policy and the expense of the interest of the international community, in a manner that violates international law.
Fourth: Libya has never cast doubt the Scottish judiciary or Scottish law. It has even sent an official letter to the Security Council confirming its appreciation of the deep rooted history of Scottish law and judiciary (document S/1997/518). More than that, Libya has urged the two Libyan suspects to appear before that judiciary and even accepted a trial for the two at the seat of the International Court of Justice in The Hague by Scottish judges, under Scottish law (document S/26523).
Whatever was said by the attorneys for the two suspects about Scotland in letters sent to the Security Council, relates to the venue and has nothing to do with the judges or the law. The place offers a climate which would not be conducive to a just and fair trial, in view of the media campaign and the statements of officials (document S/26629).
In this respect, we would like to recall that the trial of Timothy
McVeigh was transferred from Oklahoma City to Colorado, not because of
a challenge to the fairness of the judiciary or the law in Oklahoma, but
because the place in which the crime was committed no longer provided a
place where there are no conditions needed for due process of law and a
fair trial for the defendants. Also, we should not forget that the case
of the two Libyans is only a case of suspicion. As for the so-called observers,
they would only be mere spectators, similar to other spectators who watch
a play or a movie, wherein they cannot interfere or influence its events
or scenes. Even if such spectators have a view, their view would be no
more than to those of artistic critics.
After a long wait, the International Court of Justice, to which we had resorted on 3 March 1992 rendered its judgments against the other party which had challenged its jurisdiction. The two judgments of the Court were rendered on Friday, 27 February 1998. These two judgments contained principles related to basic questions which can be summarized as follows:
In light of the above considerations relating to the background of the dispute, the significance and dimensions of the judgment, the judgment of the Court opens prospects which would realize the basic purposes of the United Nations related to acting in accordance with the principles of law, justice, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. These are objectives which led, more than fifty years also, to the inclusion in the Charter of the provisions relating to the establishment of the Court (article 1 and 7 of the Charter). The judgment of the Court enhances the initiatives submitted by all the regional organizations concerned, with a view to reaching a just solution of a dispute whose legal character is very clear, and in relation of which there is an international convention applicable to all parties to the dispute, without any reservation (the 1971 Montreal Convention) and which provides the right framework for the settlement of the said dispute.
The implementation of the judgment of the Court which is final and binding (article 94 of the Charter) is supported by the provisions of the Charter and the resolutions of the regional organizations concerned, makes it incumbent on the parties to the dispute and members of the Security Council, that must act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and the provisions of its Charter (article 24/2 of the Charter). Its decisions would be acceptable and binding to deal with the question based on a new vision in handling the dispute and its economic and human consequences, specially that the resolutions of the Security Council, in the field of maintenance of international peace and security are, by their nature, temporary and not indefinite.
Sanctions were imposed on Libya since 1992 under a framework of handling and a qualification of the dispute that was found to be wrong by the principal judicial arm of the United Nations.
Since that date, the point of view of Libya has been that the disputes between it and the two countries (the United States and the United Kingdom) are legal disputes, and that application of the provisions of the Charter (article 36/3) make it incumbent on the Security Council in making its recommendations (resolution 731 (1992) is merely a resolution of recommendation as is accepted by the parties and found by the Court) to take into consideration the fact that legal disputes should be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice.
The judgment of the Court has confirmed that the dispute is a legal one, and that the Court has jurisdiction in it, and that Libya’s application, in this respect, is acceptable to the Court.
The Security Council take the necessary measures to give effect to the two judgment rendered by the International Court of Justice on 27 February 1998, which are referred to above, including:
First:The Council should promptly and urgently refrain from renewing the sanctions imposed on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya pursuant to resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993).
Second:In substance, the two resolutions mentioned above should be rescinded, as they relate to the imposition of sanctions on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Third:The two cases before the International Court of Justice should be considered the only peaceful means for settling the dispute between the parties, and the Council should call on them not to take any unilateral or multilateral measures until the Court renders its final judgment;
Fourth: As an interim measure, the Council should suspend the implementation of the two resolutions referred to above, inasmuch as they relate to the sanctions imposed against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.Insistence on the non-suspension of the sanctions imposed on a whole people, and even on the peoples of the whole region for six years, based on a resolution which the Court has considered to be not binding in relation to legal disputes for which the Council is not competent (article 36, paragraph 3 of the Charter) and on a wrong procedure (article 27 of the Charter). This comes close to a clear violation of the 1948 Genocide Treaty.
Libya believes that these two judgments by the International Court of Justice pave the way for a definitive settlement of the Lockerbie dispute and Libya hereby declares, once more, its continued acceptance of the initiatives of the international forums, including the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which were presented to the Security Council in order to assure the effective implementation of the international and national laws. Libya most emphatically repeats before the Security Council and to the entire world that it was not responsible for the tragic destruction of Pan Am jet over Lockerbie and the horrendous loss of innocent human beings resulting therefrom.
Over the years, ever since this issue was forced upon the Security
Council, many statements both official and unofficial have been issued,
many books and articled published, many audio-visual recordings presented,
and many seminars and conferences held, and most of them have concluded
that Libya is not guilty of the allegations made against it. If the United
States and the United Kingdom really believe in good faith that they actually
have possession of some circumstantial evidence that somehow links Libya
to the incident, then these two States are obligated to bring their so-called
evidence to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the binding
rules of international law and the normal practice for resolving serious
legal disputes between sovereign and civilized States.
I would like to state publicly that my country was the first to come to the Security Council, upon the announcement of the indictment against its citizen on 16 November 1991, more than a month before the other parties contacted this august council on 20 December 1991. Today, my country comes to the Council again asking for the implementation of the judgment of the Court. We do that out of respect for the Council, and a keenness on the preservation of its credibility. We are hopeful that the right would be established, the law upheld, and the causes of the bitter suffering of our people would be eliminated, making it possible to get closer to a day when the suffering of the families of the tragic incident would end, too.
Before all of you, my country would like to confirm that it still upholds the principles and constant position it has declared upon the evacuation of the military forces of both the United States of America and the United Kingdom from its territory in 1970, when we considered that a new page had started in our relations with both countries, and that we no longer had any problems with them. At that time, we called on them to enter with us, on an equal relationship, based on mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs and cooperation on equal footing. We have not severed our relations with them. They did that unilaterally for no real reason.
Today, we renew our call to them to turn over a page that is no longer of any benefit to either of us, and open a new page in which we exchange benefits, not accusations, within the framework of normal political and economic relations characterized by dialogue, not discord, cooperation and not boycott.
We urge the Council to embark on a drastic review of decisions it took at very critical circumstances against my country, taking into consideration what I have said in this statement, and what the international community has incessantly called for, namely, the suspension of the resolutions referred to as soon as possible.
We pray to Allah to help us all in obeying what he said in the Holy Koran, "we have made you into peoples and tribes so that you may seek to get to know each other. The best, among you, in the eyes of God, are those who worship him the most".
May peace and the blessings of God be upon you.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Your Excellency.