Magazine article UN Chronicle

Libya

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Libya

Article excerpt

On 1 April, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, had set 30 December 1998 as the time-limit for the filing of Counter-Memorials of the United Kingdom and the United States (explanations of their positions) in the cases concerning the aerial incident at Lockerbie, Scotland, brought against them by Libya.

On 27 February, the Court found that it had jurisdiction to deal with the merits of the cases brought by Libya, and found that the Libyan claims were admissible. The Court announced, following consultations with the parties, that it would fix time-limits for further written and oral proceedings, and would hand down a judgment on the merits only after the oral proceedings.

Libya submitted cases to the ICJ since March 1992, 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 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 20 March, the Security Council held an open meeting to discuss the sanctions imposed on Libya, following the 1988 Pan Am bombing and the Union Transport Aeriens (UTA) flight 772. At the meeting, at which the Council heard 50 speakers, the League of Arab States (LAS) made a proposal aimed at resolving the situation, offering three options for the trial of the two Libyan suspects: they could be tried in a neutral country chosen by the Security Council; at the World Court in The Hague; or in a special tribunal to be created at The Hague. The proposal had been formulated in consultation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. …

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