BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 04:01 GMT
Counting the trial cost
Zeist court
Technology is in evidence all round the court

The Lockerbie trial, the largest in Scottish legal history, has also been the most costly.

Estimates put the bill at about 60m of public funds with a further cost of 2m per month if there is an appeal.

The trial, the first to be heard under Scots law on foreign soil, involved the creation of a special court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

Trial details
The two accused were Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground
The two men denied murder. Charges of conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act were dropped
The trial took place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands
The case was heard by a panel of Scottish judges
Original estimates of the proceedings, which were expected to last more than a year, were put at 150m.

The current 60m estimate includes 12m for the building of the courtroom and prison complex.

It features bullet-proof glass, screens to protect the identity of witnesses and a mass of computer equipment.

Court registrar Gordon Beaton said the technology was modelled on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.

Advanced equipment was used to translate the proceedings from English into Arabic, as well as having the capability of translation into Swedish, Japanese, Kurdish or whatever other language was required.

A huge video screen was also a feature of the coutroom, as was the capacity to alter the voices of witnesses to protect their identity.

The court heard 84 days of evidence from 230 witnesses, resulting in a total of 10,232 pages of court transcripts covering more than three million words.

Television technology was used to transmit pictures to special viewing rooms in Dumfries, London, New York and Washington DC.

The court at Camp Zeist
Running costs include policing and security
The running costs of the prison took in policing, prison officers and court officials.

Some 1,000 Scottish police from all branches of the service were seconded to guard the site since April last year.

The Justice Department of the Scottish Executive will pick up the bill for 20% of the running costs.

The remaining 80%, along with the capital costs, will be borne by the UK reserve held by the Treasury.

The US Office for the Victims of Crime has paid for the televised links to New York and Washington DC.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic


Key stories


The trial
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more World stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World stories