By Libya Herald reporter.
London, 10 September 2015:
A £900-million fund stashed in London by Muammar Qaddafi should be used to pay compensation to . . .[restrict]IRA terrorist victims wounded by weapons supplied by Libya, their lawyer has said.
Jason McCue told the Northern Ireland committee of the UK parliament that the cash could be diverted for victim claims dating back decades.
In the 1980s, Qaddafi supplied the IRA with arms and semtex for their armed campaign against British forces and some civilians in Northern Ireland, but Britain has yet to obtain compensation for the victims.
The committee is examining why Britain failed to do so.
McCue, representing 200 victims, said the cash for the compensation was right there, in the form of a fund which the late dictator parked in London, and which remains frozen.
“We have information that there is a fund of £900m here which has been sat, not earning interest, which is in management which we’d like used,” McCue told MPs.
He claimed Britain has dragged its feet on demanding compensation from Libya for the carnage caused by weapons in the hands of the IRA, in contrast to the more robust stance of other governments.
The United States obtained a $1.2 billion Libyan payout to victims of the 1988 Pan Am Lockerbie bombing, and France was given $250 million after 170 people were killed when a French jetliner was blown up over the Sahara the following year.
McCue rejected claims from British officials that simply taking money from the Qaddafi fund to pay the victims was illegal under international law.
Libya has paid compensation to British victims of Lockerbie, in which a Libyan, Abdel Basset Magrahi, was convicted of responsibility, and also to the family of police officer Yvonne Fletcher, shot and killed outside the Libya embassy in London in 1984.
McCue’s testimony highlights the continuing controversy over Qaddafi’s role in supplying the IRA for its campaign in the 1980s, and whether Libya’s current government should be financially liable for paying compensation to the victims.
McCue said successive British governments had downplayed the issue because of other concerns. “Documents and testimony show that a policy existed that put arms and oil and partnership ahead of justice,” he said. [/restrict]