Non-Extradition of Nationals - Lockerbie Case Revisited



Non-Extradition of Nationals - Lockerbie Case Revisited

By Ayad Dirbal,  2008

تبحث هذه الورقة مسألة مدى موافقة مطالبة مجلس الأمن للدولة الليبية بتسليم المتهمين الليبيين في قضية لوكربي للقانون الدولي وميثاق الأمم المتحدة. وتنتهي إلى أن تكييف المجلس موقفَ ليبيا الرافض للتسليم على أنه ينطوي على تهديد للسلم والأمن الدوليين يشكل مخالفة ظاهرة لقواعد القانون الدولي عموماً.

هذه مقدمة الورقة. وللاطلاع عليها كاملة، يرجى تنزيل ملفها النصي.


No aircraft disaster in history produced the amount of legal wrangling as the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, which resulted in the killing of 270 people. One of the many important issues that the incident raises is the argument on the doctrine of non-extradition of nationals.

In November 27, 1991, after a long-standing investigation, the U.K. and the U.S. issue a joint declaration requesting Libya to surrender two of its nationals, in connection with the bombing of the flight, to be tried either in the U.S. or the U.K.. In response, Libya refuses the request on grounds of the doctrine of non-extradition of nationals, claiming that it has no obligation under international law to extradite its nationals. In light of the pressure exerted, Libya brings the dispute before the International Court of Justice seeking confirmation that it has fulfilled its international obligations. Meanwhile the U.N. Security Council interferes in the dispute and issues two resolutions addressing Libya, demanding that it responds to the request of the U.S. and the U.K.. Libya, however, persists upon what it considers its right not to comply.

The aim of this paper is to examine the legal bases of the Libyan position, to decide whether it has breached its legal obligations under international law concerning its refusal to extradite the two-suspected nationals. This paper also seeks to evaluate the grounds on which the pertinent U.N. Security Council resolutions were issued. Those issues will be set out in chapters in the following manner:

The first chapter is an introduction serving as a background, providing working definitions, setting the context, and presenting the doctrine of non-extradition of nationals and the facts of the case of Lockerbie. The second chapter examines the legal grounds of the Libyan argument in the light of customary international law and existing treaties. The U.N. Security Council resolutions are discussed and evaluated in later chapters, while the final chapter is devoted to recent developments represented in the International Criminal Court to examine to what extent its Statute affects the doctrine of non-extradition of nationals.