Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Trial Chamber gives notice of scheduling the public pronouncement of the Judgment in the Ayyash et al. case

Leidschendam, 5 March 2020 –  The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has given notice that it will deliver its Judgment in the Ayyash et al. case (STL-11-01) in public session in mid-May 2020.  
In the filing issued today, the Judges stated that they would specify the precise date of the public pronouncement of the Judgment as soon as possible.
Accreditation is required for members of the media who wish to cover the hearing at the seat of the Tribunal. Seating in the public gallery is not guaranteed; for this high-level event, permanently accredited journalists will also need to submit a request. 
The accreditation procedure for the Judgment hearing will be communicated in due course.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Ayyash case (STL 18-10) to proceed in absentia

Leidschendam, 06 February 2020 - Trial Chamber II of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued a decision yesterday  to proceed with a trial in absentia against Salim Jamil Ayyash, accused in the attacks against Marwan Hamade, Georges Hawi and Elias El-Murr, which occurred in Lebanon on 1 October 2004, 21 June and 12 July 2005, respectively.

In reaching this decision, Trial Chamber II took into account oral and written submissions from the STL Prosecutor, Registrar and the Head of the Defence Office. It also examined numerous documents from the Lebanese authorities, which detail the steps they have taken to apprehend the Accused and inform Mr Ayyash about the proceedings initiated against him.

These efforts included multiple attempts by the Lebanese authorities to find the Accused at his last known residences, as well as other locations. Trial Chamber II also took into consideration the fact that the indictment and the identity of the accused received intense media coverage in Lebanon. In addition, Trial Chamber II considered it relevant that the Lebanese authorities have unsuccessfully been searching for him since 2011 in connection to his indictment for the attack of 14 February 2005 against former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others.

Trial Chamber II concluded that all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the appearance of the accused and to notify him of the charges against him. It nevertheless emphasized the accused's right to a retrial should he appear before the Tribunal in the future. While the STL is the only international tribunal that can prosecute accused in their absence, it is a measure of last resort meant to ensure that those who flee from justice, cannot be found, have not been handed over, or have waived their right to be present, do not delay the course of justice.

With this decision, the case Prosecutor v. Ayyash (STL 18-10) proceeds to the Pre Trial Phase. For more information on trials in absentia and the upcoming steps, please click here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

STL President orders alternative service of the indictment against Salim Jamil Ayyash

Leidschendam, 24 September 2019 - The President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Judge Ivana Hrdličková, has ordered today that the service of the indictment  against Mr Salim Jamil Ayyash relating to the attacks against Mr Marwan Hamade, Mr Georges Hawi and Mr Elias El- Murr (Prosecutor v. Salim Jamil Ayyash, Case No. STL‑18‑10), be effected in an alternative manner, including through public advertisement.

This follows the President's finding that reasonable attempts have been made by the Lebanese authorities to effect personal service on the accused in this case, and those efforts have been unsuccessful to date.

Specifically, Judge Ivana Hrdličková orders the STL Registrar to provide a form of public advertisement to the Lebanese authorities; and the Lebanese authorities to take all reasonable steps to provide notification to the public of the existence of the indictment and call upon Mr. Ayyash to surrender to the Tribunal or in any case to submit to its jurisdiction. Additionally, the Registrar is ordered to consider other means of disseminating the indictment for this purpose, including in the media and social media. Both the Lebanese authorities and the Registrar are required to report back on the results of their efforts.

The Lebanese authorities have the continuing obligation to search for, serve, arrest and detain Mr Ayyash, and to transfer him to the seat of the Tribunal.  

If within 30 days from the start of the advertisement of the indictment the accused is not under the Tribunal's authority, the Pre-Trial Judge shall ask the Trial Chamber to initiate proceedings in absentia.

BACKGROUND NOTES:

The procedure for serving an indictment on an accused is specified in Rule 76 of the STL's Rules of Procedure and Evidence, titled "Service of Indictment". The President's order that was issued today is based on Rule 76 (E). The "procedures of public advertisement" referred to in Rule 76 (E) are further clarified in Rule 76 bis, titled "Advertisement of Indictment". The relevant Rules are copied below.

Rule 76: Service of Indictment

(A) The indictment, certified in accordance with Rule 68, shall be formally provided to the authorities of the State in whose territory the accused resides or was last known to be residing, or in whose territory or under whose jurisdiction he is believed likely to be found, in order to serve the indictment on the accused without delay.

(B) Personal service of an indictment on the accused is effected by giving the accused a copy of the indictment, together with the summons to appear or the warrant of arrest.

(C) Notwithstanding Rules 20 and 21, Lebanon or a State which has agreed to provide cooperation with the Tribunal must inform the President of the measures taken in execution of paragraphs (A) and (B) as soon as possible and no later than 30 days following the request under paragraph (A).

(D) When a summons to appear, a warrant of arrest or a transfer order relates to a person living in, or under the control of, a State other than those referred to in paragraph (C), the Registrar, after consulting with the President, shall transmit a request for cooperation, to the appropriate authorities of the relevant State, in order to serve the summons to appear, the warrant of arrest or the transfer order to the accused without delay.

(E) Where the President establishes that reasonable attempts have been made to serve the indictment, the summons to appear or the warrant of arrest to the accused, but that they have failed, he may, after consulting the Pre-Trial Judge, order the service of process to be effected in an alternative manner, including procedures of public advertisement.

Rule 76 bis: Advertisement of Indictment

In keeping with the President's order made under Rule 76 (E), a form of advertisement shall be transmitted by the Registrar to the authorities of any relevant State or entity for publication in newspapers and/or for broadcast via radio, television and/or other media, including the internet, providing notification to the public of the existence of an indictment and calling upon the accused to surrender to the Tribunal or in any case to submit to its jurisdiction. The advertisement shall invite any person with information as to the whereabouts of the accused to communicate that information to the Tribunal.




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Sep 16 2019

**Lebanon

Turning to Lebanon, the Pre-Trial Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Fransen, today lifted the confidentiality of his decision confirming the indictment against Salim Jamil Ayyash, relating to three attacks committed in 2004 and 2005.

The confirmation of this indictment marks the opening of a new case before the Special Tribunal.

An arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Ayyash, who is charged, among other counts, with committing terrorist attacks and intentional homicide and attempted homicide.

The indictment and arrest warrant were transmitted to the Lebanese authorities.  They have the obligation to search for, arrest and transfer the accused to the Special Tribunal's custody.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Statement of Judge Ivana Hrdličková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon


17

SEP 2019

Statement of Judge Ivana Hrdličková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Leidschendam, 17 September 2019 - The President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge Ivana Hrdličková issued a statement urging the Accused in the connected attacks to cooperate with the STL and to inform him of his rights.

Below is the full text of the statement, which is also available on the STL website.

Statement of Judge Ivana Hrdličková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,

17 September 2019

Yesterday, the Pre-Trial Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon lifted the confidentiality of his decision confirming an indictment against Mr. Salim Jamil Ayyash. The indictment, dated 14 June 2019, alleges Mr. Ayyash's involvement in the 1October 2004 attack against Marwan Hamade, the 21 June 2005 attack against Georges Hawi and the 12 July 2005 attack against Elias El-Murr. A redacted version of the indictment has also been made public.

On 5 August 2011, the Pre-Trial Judge found the abovementioned attacks to be "connected" to the 14February 2005 attack which resulted in the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and in the death and injury of other persons. As such, the Pre-Trial Judge has found these crimes fall within the Special Tribunal's jurisdiction.

As a result of his decision confirming the indictment, the Pre-Trial Judge issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Ayyash. The Special Tribunal is reliant upon the co-operation of States to execute its warrants and orders. As Mr. Ayyash is believed to reside in Lebanon, the arrest warrant was transmitted to the Lebanese authorities.

The Lebanese authorities have since notified me that they have not been able to locate Mr. Ayyash or to effect personal service of the indictment on him. As a next step, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules") of the Special Tribunal provide that I may, in consultation with the Pre-Trial Judge, order the service of the Indictment "in an alternative manner, including procedures of public advertisement". I may issue such an order in due course, if necessary.

If these alternative procedures are unsuccessful, the Trial Chamber may be asked to consider whether to conduct proceedings in absentia.

Rights of the accused

In proceedings before the Special Tribunal, Mr. Ayyash is presumed innocent until proven guilty. While core protections to his rights are guaranteed by Article 16 of the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ("Statute"), it is in Mr. Ayyash's best interests that he fully participates in the defence of the charges against him through duly qualified counsel.

In the event that proceedings are conducted in absentia, the Head of Defence Office will appoint independent counsel to represent Mr. Ayyash's interests in court, so as to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings. There is, however, no safeguard preferable to Mr.Ayyash's own participation in the proceedings. Mr. Ayyash is therefore urged to participate in the proceedings against him, including by nominating counsel of his own choosing. If he cannot afford a lawyer, funds will be made available by the Special Tribunal for that purpose, and for the conduct of his defence. Should Mr. Ayyash not have a lawyer, he can contact the Head of Defence Office of the Special Tribunal, who maintains a list of qualified independent lawyers that can be engaged for this purpose.

In this regard, it is important that Mr. Ayyash is aware of his procedural rights, including under Rule 104 of the Rules, which specifies that proceedings shall not be in absentia if an accused appears before the Special Tribunal in person, by video-conference, or by counsel appointed or accepted by him, and Rule 105 of the Rules, which specifies that, upon authorization of the Pre-Trial Judge or of the Trial Chamber, the accused may participate in hearings via a video-conference provided that his counsel attends the hearings in person.

In absentia procedures

Mr. Ayyash is an accused in other ongoing proceedings before the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal. Those proceedings relate to his alleged role in the 14 February 2005 attack which resulted in the death of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and in the death and injury of other persons. They are being conducted in absentia further to the Trial Chamber's decision of 1February 2012, following a considerable number of attempts to locate Mr. Ayyash, finding that he had absconded. Since then, ongoing efforts by the Lebanese authorities to locate Mr. Ayyash have been unsuccessful.

The proceedings relating to the new case, however, are distinct. As such, efforts will be made by the Special Tribunal and the Lebanese authorities to notify Mr. Ayyash of the new indictment and the warrant for his arrest, and to secure his attendance at the Special Tribunal. Article 22 of the Statute and Rule 106 of the Rules specify the circumstances in which proceedings can be conducted in absentia, if those efforts are unsuccessful.

*

In light of the above, I personally urge Mr. Ayyash to cooperate with the Special Tribunal and to exercise his rights to participate in the proceedings. Efforts to secure his attendance at the Special Tribunal will continue nonetheless.

**

This statement is directed to Mr. Ayyash, his family, friends and close associates, as well as to the wider public. Those reading this statement are encouraged to distribute it further by any means available, and urged to do all in their power to bring it to Mr. Ayyash's attention.



Monday, September 16, 2019

Confirmed indictment in the connected cases

STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen confirmed an indictment against Mr Salim Jamil Ayyash relating to the attacks against Mr Marwan Hamadeh, Mr George Hawi and Mr Elias El-Murr.

The indictment and an arrest warrant were transmitted to the Lebanese authorities who have an obligation to search for, arrest and transfer the accused to the STL's custody. An international arrest warrant has also been issued for Mr Ayyash.

The confirmation of the indictment marks the opening of a new case before the STL.

More on the indictment and the charges against Mr Ayyash here.

Connected cases (STL-18-10)

The STL-18-10 (connected cases) relates to the three attacks against Mr Marwan Hamade, Mr George Hawi and Mr Elias El-Murr on 1 October 2004, 21 June 2005 and 12 July 2005 respectively.  The Pre-Trial Judge confirmed an indictment in this case against the Accused Mr Salim Jamil Ayyash. Mr Ayyash is charged with five counts:

  • Conspiracy aimed at committing a terrorist act
  • In the alternative to conspiracy aimed at committing a terrorist act, criminal association
  • Committing terrorist acts
  • Intentional homicide with premeditation of Messrs Ghazi Abou-Karroum, Georges Hawi and Khaled Moura)
  • Attempted intentional homicide with premeditation of Messrs Elias El-Murr, Marwan Hamade and 17 other persons

The confirmation of this indictment marks the opening of a new case before the STL.  

The Pre-Trial Judge had determined that these three cases are connected to the 14 February 2005 attack, which killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and many others. The STL took jurisdiction on 5 August 2011.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon can have jurisdiction over persons responsible for attacks that took place in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 if connectivity to the 14 February 2005 attack is determined.

 




Monday, March 11, 2019

STL Publishes Tenth Annual Report

Leidschendam, 11 March 2019 – The Special Tribunal for Lebanon submitted its tenth annual report to the United Nations Secretary-General and to the Government of Lebanon.

The annual report details the activities of the Tribunal from 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019, its objectives for the coming year and highlights the achievements of the four organs: Chambers, Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Defence Office and Registry.

Chambers report that the trial proceedings in the Ayyash et al. case constituted their main public judicial activities. During the reporting period, the Oneissi Defence presented their case, the Trial Chamber ordered the attendance of one witness under Rule 165 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and most notably the Trial hearings concluded with closing arguments being heard by the Trial Chamber between 11 and 21 September 2018. The report stresses that "the closing arguments affirmed the important and incomparable role the Tribunal plays in ensuring the perpetrators of the 14 February 2005 attack are not shielded by impunity". The Trial Chamber is now reviewing the evidence before it and deliberating as to whether the Prosecution had proven its case against the four Accused beyond reasonable doubt. It also mentions that the precise timing of the judgment will depend upon the complexity of the legal and factual issues subject to the Trial Chamber's confidential deliberations.

The Prosecutor highlights the significant achievements by his Office during this period. Following the conclusion of the evidence, the Prosecution filed a Final Trial Brief and presented its closing arguments in the Ayyash et al. case against the individuals accused of criminal responsibility for the attack against former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The report also gives account of the additional achievements and progress in meeting the broader mandate of the Office of the Prosecutor, which continue far beyond the end of closing submissions; it describes the continued investigations and extensive other work, much of it behind the scenes in relation to all cases within the OTP's jurisdiction, the three connected cases, the assessment of potentially related cases as well as the preparations for potential appellate response to the judgement in the Ayyash et al. case. At the same time, the Office of the Prosecutor is prepared to move forward quickly when the updated confidential indictment is refiled.

The Defence Office reports on its continued operational, financial support as well as legal assistance to the Defence teams in the Ayyash et al. case. In line with its mandate, the Defence Office enables the Defence Counsel and their teams to effectively represent the rights and interests of the accused in ongoing proceedings. Further, The Defence Office in all its sections aims to prepare for any difficulties that might arise from the deliberation phase onwards, for the potential sentencing and appeal phases as well as possible opening of potential new cases. The report notes that on On 8 June 2018, Ms Dorothée Le Fraper du Hellen was appointed to the post of Head of Defence Office of the Tribunal by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Ms Le Fraper du Hellen thereby succeeded Mr François Roux, who held the post of Head of Defence Office from March 2009 to February 2018.

The Registry reports on its ongoing overarching responsibility to provide effective support to the judicial proceedings through providing efficient and customer-oriented administration of the Tribunal, raising awareness on the Tribunal's work and engaging the public, securing continued political, financial and operational support for its work, as well as ensuring a safe and secure work environment and safeguarding the welfare of staff. 
STL President Judge Ivana Hrdličková concludes that the STL's focus for the next year is on the judicial deliberations and the preparation of the judgement awaited by the victims of the 14 February 2005 attack, the Lebanese public and the wider international community.

The report is now available on the tribunal's website.