The families of victims of Pan Am 103 are about to receive millions in compensation from Libya but closure is not a word they use.
About 50 relatives of the 270 people who perished in the December 1988 airline bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, watched Friday’s Security Council vote that lifted U.N. sanctions against Libya, with relief and with pain.
The 13-0 vote freed an immediate $4 million to be paid to each family. Twice as much may follow if the United States ever lifts its own, separate sanctions.
“Do we care about the financials?” said Kathleen Flynn of Montville Township, New Jersey, whose son John, 21, was on the plane. “No, our battle was for justice.”
Her husband, John, said the Libyan serving a life sentence in a Scottish jail for the bombing, Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi, did not act on his own.
The families heard the Security Council president Emyr Jones Parry of Britain call the bombing “murder” and “the worst single terrorist incident on United Kingdom territory.” They also heard the Pakistani and Syrian envoys say the sanctions should have been lifted long ago.
U.S. envoy James Cunningham said Washington’s consent to end the U.N bans “should not be misconstrued by Libya or by the world community as tacit U.S. acceptance that the government of Libya has rehabilitated itself.”
The United States and France abstained in the vote.
Rosemary Wolfe, a retired federal employee whose 20-year-old daughter Miriam was killed, was among many who hoped the United States would not lift its own embargoes. “We only have half of the story and we need to press to get the rest of it,” she said. “The investigation is still open. The Libyans have agreed to cooperation with any future evidence and we need to hold them to it.”
For 15 years, the U.S. families have lobbied Congress, the media and four U.S. administrations for sanctions, indictments and an admission of responsibility by Libya.Glenn Johnson, board chairman of the families of Pan Am 103 group, said he could only say, “I told you so” to Sept. 11.
Johnson of Greensburg, Pa., whose 21-year-old daughter Beth was aboard the jet, said it was time for another generation to pursue the struggle, pointing to Kara Weipz, the new president of the family group, whose brother, Richard Monettti, 20, was part of the Syracuse University group.