LOCKERBIE: DEAL DONE AND SANCTIONS LIFTED
The United Nations sanctions against Libya were lifted on 12 September 2003, after France had given up its objections to the compensation deal for the victims of the Lockerbie bombing (see No 248). France had been concerned that the amounts agreed in the deal greatly exceeded the compensation which Libya had paid for the bombing of a French airliner in 1989, but this appears to have been settled.
The inquiry into the building costs of the Scottish Parliament, to be chaired by Lord Fraser of Carmylie, will itself have a budget of up to £1.2 million. Lord Fraser’s fees will be restricted to around £150,000. It is not clear how long the investigation will take, although Lord Fraser hopes to publish a report by summer 2004. The inquiry will work its way through the whole process of procuring the building, including decisions about the site, and former Ministers and civil servants are expected to be called as witnesses. The Lord Advocate has indicated that evidence given in the inquiry will not be used against the witness in any subsequent criminal proceedings, but Lord Fraser points out that this is not a grant of immunity from prosecution. The inquiry will take place in the premises of the Scottish Land Court, 1 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh. Like the Hutton inquiry into the death of the weapons expert Dr David Kelly, the Holyrood inquiry has a website: http://www.holyroodinquiry.org.
The Attorney General responded to the petition to the Scottish Parliament (PE619) questioning the legality of the war in Iraq (see No 219) with a copy of his statement to the Westminster Parliament on the same issue. The Public Petitions Committee agreed on 25 June 2003 to take no further action on the petition on the basis that the Scottish Parliament has already debated military action against Iraq and that further debate on that reserved matter is unlikely.