As is often the case the views of the victims vary. Some victims like Kara Weipz of New Jersey, whose 20 year old brother Richard Monetti died on Flight 103, are shocked by the decision. Weipz called it an insult and "utterly disgusting". Weipz said, "I don't show compassion for someone who showed no remorse." Some victims including Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed, thought the decision a right one since he believes Megrahi had been wrongly convicted. Others questioned why Megrahi would be released and returned to Libya, where already he is receiving a hero's welcome. No matter how you view this very difficult case we can all look at the victim's families and ask what kind of relief did they receive after losing their loved ones to this terrorist jetliner bombing? Little is known of this.
It is clear that in a justice system based on restorative justice principles offender accountability would be necessary. That would the offender would take personal responsibility for his crimes, often expressed through remorse and expressing that to the victims. In this case apparently Megrahi did not show remorse, at least during the sentencing phase. The possibility that the offender could be wrongfully convicted is still a factor. Victim Jim Swine and others have criticized the British government for allowing Megrahi to abandon his appeal for his conviction. The chance that the wrong offender was convicted, especially given only one individual was convicted, complicates matters greatly especially for the victims.
In the work that I have done with victims of violent crime it is most painful for victims to heal or move on with their lives if no offender is apprehended for the crime. It's no wonder. Who do you blame?
Victims have questions they want (need) to ask after violent crime. With no offender then no questions can be asked and no answers given. This is why victim offender dialogue is so important as an example of the restorative justice process. Victim offender dialogue programs are increasingly used successfully with victims of violent crime. From these one-on-one meetings, often facilitated by a trained mediator, crime victims experience some kind of healing. Considering this case no wonder the pain is so deep and raw. It makes no difference how long ago violent crime occurred, in this case 21 years ago, the pain is still fresh. Without accountability by the offender, or offenders, moving on is very hard to do.