Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 13:56 GMT
Pinochet's moment of truth
Pinochet opponents gather for verdict
BBC World is broadcasting live coverage of the Law Lords' ruling at 1400 GMT.
Former Chilean leader General Augusto Pinochet will soon discover his fate when the UK's highest court decides whether he has immunity from prosecution.
But if they decide in his favour, the former dictator could be back in Chile by the weekend. A Chilean air force plane is on standby at an airbase at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, ready to fly him home.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, quoting sources close to General Pinochet, says that only two of the seven judges are believed to be fully behind the general.
There is mounting anticipation outside parliament, as supporters and opponents of the general gather to hear the decision, to be delivered at 1400GMT.
His opponents, who have been holding a 24-hour vigil, are optimistic that the general will face extradition proceedings.
A total of 3,197 people were killed or disappeared in Chile between 1973 and 1990, while the general was in power.
Thousands of crosses bearing the names of General Pinochet's alleged victims have been planted in a lawn opposite Westminster.
Outside the Wentworth estate in Surrey, where the general is under house arrest, more opponents have been gathering, playing drum music and chanting for justice.
The general himself is currently under house arrest in a rented mansion in Wentworth, Surrey.
Then, last November, a panel of five Law Lords entered uncharted legal territory when they decided by a 3-2 majority that General Pinochet was not, as he claimed, immune to prosecution for acts committed as a head of state.
In a dramatic twist, the decision was subsequently set aside after it was revealed that Lord Hoffmann, who ruled against the general, had indirect connections to the anti-Pinochet human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
In the Chilean capital, Santiago, the authorities have banned demonstrations and increased security around the British and Spanish embassies ahead of the decision.
However, relatives of the "disappeared" are continuing to hold vigils.
Observers have said that there is a general mood of anticipation among Chileans, with most people just wanting a quick resolution to the situation.