Who Isn't Cooperating On Libyan Terrorists?
The UN 'extradition' resolution may be disguising the US's agenda
(Page 2 of 2)
The assertion that Libya has not responded effectively is incomprehensible. Is the report untrue that Libya has offered to refer questions of Libyan obligations to the World Court and to accept Western cooperation in a trial in Libya of the accused officials? Or is such action not regarded as effective? What would be "a full and effective" reponse?Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
It cannot be the extradition demanded by the US and Great Britain (France has not demanded any extradition). The applicable convention dealing with the extradition of those whose acts endanger civil aviation requires extradition only if the country holding the accused decides not to try them and punish them severely by its own law.
Libya is reported to have asked for our help in supplying evidence sufficient to convict the people we say were involved. If that is correct, it is we who have refused to cooperate with the Libyan request, thus making it clear why Libya has offered to refer the legal issues to the World Court. Moreover, the two accused are Libyan nationals, and many countries, including Germany and nearly all Latin American countries, refuse to extradite their own nationals. Is Libya failing to cooperate by acting as som e of our best friends act with regard to extradition?
What is actually involved appears not to be a futile and misconceived request for extradition, but a disguised allegation that Libya is officially involved in the Pan Am and UTA bombings, as Chile was apparently officially involved in the Letelier murder by paid assassins in Washington, D.C., in 1976. But attaching individual responsibility in this way, if adopted as a rule of law generally, puts officials of the American government also at risk.
Have we not also run covert operations that cost foreign lives? Should Captain Rogers of the Vincennes be extradited to Iran for trial? Should we extradite any of our officials to any foreign government claiming to have "evidence" of that official's involvement in some operation it claims cost lives in its territory? It now seems clear why the Security Council resolution does not mention extradition, but only some unspecified obligation that seems not to rest on law.
None of this is to say that Libya is innocent. But there are paths through the thickets of law by which the wicked can be tracked and brought to justice. If we have the evidence, we should accept Libya's invitation to present our case to the World Court. We could also present international claims, seek to block Libyan bank accounts until recompense is paid to the families of the victims of Libya's outrages, seek international cooperation in embargoes or, at least, an embargo of air traffic to and from Li bya (as in fact we are doing).
It's hard to see how what we label Libya's refusal to cooperate makes justifiable our failure to use the tools of the law in the interest of justice and safety. And worse would be our representing the nonbinding and deliberately evasive language of the Security Council into UN approval of some dramatic, futile, and possibly deadly gesture.