ICAN Scottish Partner

Latest Events

Donate to SCND

Amount to donate:
£  GBP  




ScrapTrident


Crown Abandons Remaining Prestwick Cases

Three peace activists who entered Prestwick Airport as weapons inspectors during the August 2006 war in Lebanon have learned that the Ayr Procurator Fiscal has decided to withdraw the charges, after "further consideration of the evidence".
 
Sylvia Boyes from Yorkshire, Roz Bullen from Edinburgh and Kate Holcombe from Worcestershire were due to face trial at the end of the month accused of breaching the Civil Aviation Act.  Acting on knowledge that the airport was being used in the transport of weapons for use in the invasion of Lebanon, they were inside Prestwick Airport for over 2 hours.  They found the military area, monitored the flights and got up to a cargo plane they suspected was involved in carrying munitions, before they were arrested. Their action was the first of three consecutive nights of organised citizens' inspections at the airport.  Out of the 17 people originally charged the Crown have been able to obtain only two convictions.
Three peace activists who entered Prestwick Airport as weapons inspectors during the August 2006 war in Lebanon have learned that the Ayr Procurator Fiscal has decided to withdraw the charges, after "further consideration of the evidence".
 
Sylvia Boyes from Yorkshire, Roz Bullen from Edinburgh and Kate Holcombe from Worcestershire were due to face trial at the end of the month accused of breaching the Civil Aviation Act.  Acting on knowledge that the airport was being used in the transport of weapons for use in the invasion of Lebanon, they were inside Prestwick Airport for over 2 hours.  They found the military area, monitored the flights and got up to a cargo plane they suspected was involved in carrying munitions, before they were arrested. Their action was the first of three consecutive nights of organised citizens' inspections at the airport.  Out of the 17 people originally charged the Crown have been able to obtain only two convictions.
 
The activists are disappointed that they will not have the opportunity to explain to the court the context for their actions.  The use of Prestwick Airport for the arming of one side in an undeclared war was a breach of international law, amounting to the aiding and abetting of war crimes.  The authorities which should have responded to these allegations, principally Strathclyde Police and the (then Labour-controlled) Scottish Executive, showed no signs of taking investigative action.  In this vacuum the women decided to act in the public interest and look for the evidence themselves.
 
The case also touched on another vitally important issue: the impossible contradiction between the constitutional law which does not permit the Scottish Parliament to enact any law on matters reserved to the Westminster Parliament, and the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001 which allows for the prosecution of those suspected of war crimes.  Aviation is a reserved matter.
 
Kate Holcombe said: "I'm sorry I have been deprived of the opportunity to bring to the attention of the court, the legal issues which give Westminster the power to continue committing war crimes on Scottish soil with impunity.  By adopting the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001, Scotland has shown it has no desire to participate in international war crimes.  Unfortunately, the Act has no power over war crimes when those crimes are ordered or committed by Westminster."
 
The activists believe that the legal contradiction is unsustainable, especially given the growing concern within Scotland about local collusion in other breaches of international law in regard to Trident, the treatment of asylum seekers, and the transfer of prisoners for torture.