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Scottish Officials Speak Out on Lockerbie VerdictAired January 31, 2001 - 8:47 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: But we have some breaking news out of Camp Zeist, the Netherlands: a news conference taking place right now.
Let's listen in to Colin Boyd, the prosecutor of the case.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
COLIN BOYD, LOCKERBIE PROSECUTOR: And also to pay tribute to the court staff, police and prison officers who have guarded the accused and the site. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the Scottish prosecution team, to Alastair Campbell and Alan Turnbull and to their juniors who presented the case in court, and also to the team from the Crown Office and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Service in Scotland, who were responsible for the direction of the investigation and for its preparation.
They displayed a high degree of professionalism and skill in presenting this case. And they all -- each deserve the highest credit for their work. Today, however, I think belongs to the families. They have waited 12 years for this trial. Many said it would not happen. But we have shown that it can happen. And I am proud that the Scottish criminal justice system has risen to the challenge. Thank you very much.
LIN: We're looking at picture of the special High Court of Scotland, which was set up at former U.S. Military base on Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.
We have another speaker now. Let's see who this is.
WILLIAM RAE, CRASH INVESTIGATOR: ... a brief statement to make on behalf of the force. Copies of the statement are available after this session.
Since that fateful night on the 21st of December, 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in the night sky over Lockerbie and forever changed the lives of so many people, the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary staff has sustained a strong commitment to those who died and to their families. Our primary focus throughout has been the pursuit of the criminal inquiry, whilst maintaining the strong emphasis on human values, which was so evident in the early days after the disaster.
Throughout, we have treated each of the 270 people who was murdered as an individual. For us, they were not simply one of the passengers on the aircraft, a member of the crew, or a resident of Lockerbie. It was only in the manner of their deaths that they came together. There were 21 different nationalities involved. And their loss devastated families and friends across the world. Dumfries and Galloway is the smallest police force in Scotland.
And I would take the opportunity to pay tribute to the many hundreds of police officers, military personnel, firefighters and other emergency services who responded from all over Britain to our disaster. People from our local council and volunteers who gave so unstintedly of their time, skills and effort. Internationally, too, over the past 12 years, we've had enormous assistance from police and criminal-justice agencies across the world.
It has been, however, the response of the people of Lockerbie which has touched the hearts of the families. The bonds forged in the aftermath of the disaster continue to this day. And relatives visit the site where their loved ones died on a regular basis. The hallmark of the police inquiry through all its different phases has been cooperation: between individuals, between criminal-justice agencies and between nations. We have worked closely with the Crown Office, the Scottish Court Service and the United States Office for Victims of Crime.
As well as a complex criminal investigation, this case also presented us with the challenge of a major policing operation here at Camp van Zeist. Our expertise and policing skills were designed to establish a safe and secure environment to enable the trial proceedings to complete their course without any hindrance. Sustaining this investigation of this scale over 12 years has called for dedication and perseverance. Through the long process of the investigation, the trial proceedings, the staff of Dumfries and Galloway and other Scottish forces have maintained the highest standard of professional integrity.
I believe the verdict today vindicates the confidence that the families of this tragedy have always placed in the Scottish Police Service. Thank you.
LIN: That was William Rae, the crash investigator in Lockerbie, Scotland, one of the first people to initiate the investigation, saying that all 270 victims who died in the Pan Am 103 crash -- the bombing -- were treated as individual: 270 people from 21 different nationalities. He said that the verdict was a vindication of the Scottish law system.
Also heard this morning from Colin Boyd, the prosecutor in the case, who celebrated the family whose waited 12 years for this day. This day, he says, belongs to the family who perhaps never thought that they would see vindication -- one Libyan man found guilty of murder. And he has been sentenced to life in prison. An appeal is expected in that case -- one other Libyan, man, however, found not guilty and is en route back now to Libya.
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