Case 299 - A Medal of Good Hope: Mandela, Qaddafi, and the Lockerbie Negotiations
Judson, Lyn Boyd
On October 29, 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela arrived in Libya to award Colonel Muammar Qaddafi the Good Hope Medal, his nation’s highest honor. At the time, Qaddafi was considered a pariah in the international community; Libya was under United Nations sanctions for refusing to hand over two indicted suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. This case study asks several questions: Why did Mandela intervene on behalf of Qaddafi? Why were the United States and the United Kingdom so unyielding in their relations with Libya? And what issues of the North-versus-South debate were important in the Lockerbie negotiations? In the process, the study explores the different understandings of justice and morality in North-South relations, the moral capital of individual leaders like Mandela, and the “moral diplomacy” practiced by South Africa and other middle powers.