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Page last updated at 21:38 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 22:38 UK

Families respond to Gaddafi's son

Lawyers representing the Lockerbie bomb victims' families and a parent whose daughter died on the flight respond to comments made by the son of the Libyan leader on The Conspiracy Files.

In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay $2.7bn (1.43bn) to the families of the victims - $10 (5.3m) million per death.

The US law firm Kreindler and Kreindler represented 130 families in the negotiations.

According to Jim Kreindler and other lawyers involved in the negotiations, all of the families representing the 270 victims signed the compensation agreement with Libya - except one family who did not sign and made its own individual settlement.

To date, $8m (4.2m) compensation has been paid per victim.

Compensation as sanctions lifted

Frank Granito from law firm Speiser Krause, who represented the majority of the British families, said payments were directly linked to the lifting of sanctions.

The first payment of $4m (2.1m) for each death was paid in 2003 after the UN lifted sanctions imposed on Libya.

A second payment of $4m was made in 2004 after the US lifted its sanctions imposed on Libya. The final payment is outstanding.

The deal was negotiated on a "no-win, no-fee" basis, with lawyers acting for the families receiving a percentage of the compensation paid.

Mr Granito said the exact fee paid to lawyers was confidential. But families have told the BBC the commission was about 30%.

Some relatives chose not to accept any money in compensation, and others donated their share to charity.

Earlier this month, Libya and the US agreed to renew diplomatic relations after signing a deal to compensate all victims of bombings involving the two countries.

Frank Granito told the BBC the outstanding compensation payments were now expected to be paid "imminently".

'Very greedy'

In an interview for The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, told the BBC: "You have to ask the families of the victims.

"The negotiation with them, it was very terrible and very materialistic and was very greedy. They were asking for more money and more money and more money.

"I think they were very greedy and I think they were trading with the blood of their sons and daughters."

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died on Pan Am flight 103, gave the following response: "From within Western culture Saif Al Gaddafi's comments will be found deeply offensive by some relatives, but I can see this as the Arab way of doing things.

"I'm cynical enough to know that's how the world works.

"My reaction is that what we're looking at here is a negotiation in which the functions of international politics are driven by the norms of American law. And this has resulted in a debasingly materialistic resolution in line with many international negotiations.

"The Libyans have achieved what they want - and Western commerce has got what it wants too.

"In this, many of us feel like pawns."

'Enormous loss'

Jim Kreindler from Kreindler and Kreindler said: "I am really not concerned with what he [Gaddafi] says.

"Libya filed a statement with the Security Council of the United Nations accepting responsibility - to me that's the be all and end all.

"To say that there is a distinction between responsibility of the acts of your officials while denying you yourself are responsible is a distinction that doesn't exist in our legal system.

"There is no way for a country to act other than through the acts of its officials.

"In our civil justice system the only sort of recovery available is money damages. Ours was a suit for money damages and it was successfully concluded.

"I dispute that there is anything materialistic or greedy. It is a lawsuit for money damages to obtain the right amount.

"You go into a lawsuit, as far as the legal system permits, to recover your loss. If the loss is enormous, it is not materialistic or greedy, it's because you have suffered an enormous loss.

"We and the families are very happy with the result. I am always asked in any suit how can money compensate for a death. And it can't.

"No one is trading a life for money. Every one of the clients would give back every penny received from Libya and from Pan Am had their family members not been killed.

"The people were killed - the only remedy that exists is a recovery of money damages."

SEE ALSO
Lockerbie evidence not disclosed
28 Aug 08 |  South of Scotland
Gaddafi's son on Lockerbie
28 Aug 08 |  Conspiracy Files
Timeline: Lockerbie bombing
04 Apr 08 |  Scotland


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