Remarks by Alison Di Rollo QC, Solicitor General for Scotland

Thank you Mary Kay for your kind introduction. I would also like to thank Kathy (Tedeschi), Melanie (Daniels), Sue (Ford) and Mary Lou (Ciulla) for your warm welcome and your kind hospitality on this visit, which is my first time in this wonderful city.

With your fellow family members, some of whom are now the second or perhaps even third generation, your continued commitment to furthering the aims and the goals of the Families of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 group is humbling and inspirational. I have been struck by the bonds that you have formed and the dedication that you have shown to your cause, which culminates in this act of commemoration and remembrance in this most beautiful and solemn of settings, quite rightly described as your nation’s “hallowed ground.” I am very grateful to you for the invitation to speak here.

In my brief time here in Washington D.C., I have had the great pleasure and privilege to speak to and meet many family members—at the commemoration yesterday at FBI headquarters and at the families’ gathering last night. I have been touched by both your support of the work that Scottish and U.S. prosecutors and law enforcement are undertaking, but also by your knowledge and understanding of the case, and your challenge to us to do all that we can to further the criminal investigation and to provide you with answers.

On 21 December 1988, in a small town in the south of Scotland, 270 families suffered an unimaginable tragedy. I cannot think, therefore, of a more fitting tribute to those 270 people, than the ongoing work of the families’ group in bringing together families every year whose only connection is borne of such tragedy—the loss of a relative on the flight, or on the ground in Lockerbie. From 82-year-old Jean Aitken Murray of Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie, to Brittany Leigh Williams of New York, aged just 2 months, let us take this opportunity to remember them and celebrate their lives.

May I also pay tribute to those of you who dedicate so much of your time to promoting the goals of your organisation, including:

  • discovering the truth behind the bombing
  • seeking justice for your loved ones
  • ensuring the airline industry maintains and improves safety measures
  • educating the public about this incident
  • supporting one another

It is often the case in criminal cases that bereaved relatives become inward facing, and focused, understandably, on their own, individual loss and impact on immediate family. Not so for the families gathered here today—you have had the courage to look outwards and forwards, doing so much to educate others of the devastating effects of terrorism and to work with the Presidential Commission on Aviation Security to seek reform, improve aviation safety and through sheer dedication and personal commitments, keep this case alive in the public consciousness in both the criminal justice process and the political arena. You should be immensely proud of the efforts that you have made on behalf of your loved ones. You have supported the Remembrance Scholar programme at Syracuse University and have welcomed generations of scholars into your lives. You have created a close and enduring link with the town of Lockerbie, a town which from that terrible night harnessed its local spirit and the desire to help, which I know so many families found comforting in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

But turning to the future; what does that hold? As a prosecutor I cannot guarantee that the current investigation will uncover enough evidence to support further criminal proceedings but I can—and do —promise that the Lord Advocate and I, along with the prosecution team and the Police Service of Scotland, will remain committed to this investigation and to working as closely as we ever have with our U.S. colleagues.

For us there is no better mark of respect for the indomitable spirit and fortitude of the families, who have fought so hard to get justice for their loved ones, than to continue to do all we can to bring to account all those who were involved in this atrocity.

Thank you for your dedication and your diligence, your humanity and dignity; it is an inspiration to us all.