Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Prosecution completes the presentation of evidence in the Ayyash et al. case

Leidschendam, 7 February 2018 - Today, the Prosecutor completed the presentation of evidence in the Ayyash et al. before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) marking the conclusion of the prosecution case.

Since the start of the Prosecution case, the Prosecution has presented evidence from over 260 individual witnesses and about 2470 exhibits in documentary form.

The next step in the proceedings will be in accordance with Rule 167 of the STL Rules of Procedure and Evidence entitled "Judgement of Acquittal at the Close of the Prosecution Case". In accordance with that rule, the judges will issue such a judgement on any count if they find that there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction on that count, even in the absence of a Defence case.

On 20 and 21 February, the Trial Chamber will hear the Rule 167 submissions of the Defence, any response from the Prosecution and any reply from the Defence. A judgement of acquittal or a decision dismissing the application will be delivered in court as soon as practicable thereafter.

Background: The Ayyash et al. case relates to the 14 February 2005 attack which killed 22 individuals, including the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 others. The Accused Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra remain at large. The proceedings against them are being held in absentia. On 11 July 2016, the Appeals Chamber ordered the termination of the proceedings against Mustafa Badreddine, without prejudice to the right to resume the proceedings, should evidence that he is alive emerge in the future.

The trial is making it possible for the Lebanese people to see evidence being presented and challenged, as well as witnesses testifying and being cross-examined in public.

You can follow the trial proceedings on the STL website with a 30- minute delay in Arabic, English and French.

More information on the case can be found in the case information sheets and in the STL's Bulletin.

Friday, January 12, 2018

STL Registrar ends a working visit to Beirut

Leidschendam, 12 January 2018 – Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Registrar Daryl Mundis met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri this week, on the first working visit to Beirut in 2018 and discussed various matters relating to the Tribunal's work.

Mr Mundis also met with Justice Minister Salim Jreissati, Prosecutor General Samir Hammoud, Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun as well as the Director General of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Imad Osman.

"My visits to Beirut are key to maintain the good cooperation between the STL and the Lebanese authorities, allowing me to personally thank Lebanese officials for their continued commitment to support the work of the Tribunal," said Mr Mundis.

The STL Registrar is responsible for all aspects of the Tribunal's administration including the budget, fundraising, human resources and providing security. His responsibilities also include court management, the oversight of the Victims' Participation Unit, witness protection and language services.

Background information: On 22 December 2017, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres extended the STL's mandate for a period of three years from 1 March 2018, or upon the completion of the cases before the STL if sooner.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Secretary-General extends mandate of UN-backed Lebanon tribunal for three more years

22 December 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres extended for another three years the mandate of the tribunal set up to try those accused of carrying out the February 2005 attack in Beirut, which killed 22 people, including the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, and injured many others.

The trial in absentia of four individuals indicted over the killing began in January 2014 at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is based near The Hague in the Netherlands, and is currently ongoing.

The Tribunal's mandate has been extended from 1 March 2018 for a period of three years, or upon the completion of the cases before it if sooner.

"The United Nations looks forward to the completion of the mandate of the Special Tribunal in a timely manner," spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

The Tribunal also has jurisdiction over attacks carried out in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 if they are connected to the attack of 14 February 2005 and are of a similar nature and gravity.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

STL analyst implies Hezbollah pressure affected witnesses

Oct. 18, 2017 | 12:10 AM
Finbar Anderson| The Daily Star
The defense for Salim Ayyash, one of four accused of involvement in the 2005 bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, questioned prosecution witness Andrew Donaldson again regarding how he selected evidence to include in prosecution reports.

Media advisory - Appeals Chamber will deliver its ruling on the questions raised by the Pre Trial Judge tomorrow

Leidschendam, 17 October 2017 - The Appeals Chamber scheduled a public hearing to deliver its decision on the Pre-Trial Judge's legal questions on Wednesday, 18 October at 4:30 pm (CET).
The Judges were seized of preliminary questions of law submitted on 11 August 2017 by the Pre-Trial Judge who is currently reviewing an indictment submitted to him confidentially by the Prosecutor.
The questions of law relate to the material (actus reus) and the intentional (mens rea) elements of the crime of criminal association, the distinctive elements between criminal association and conspiracy and the criteria for reviewing the indictment.
The Appeals Chamber concluded its deliberations after receiving written and oral submissions from the Prosecution and the Defence Office.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Media Advisory - Appeals Chamber schedules public hearing on 11 October 2017

Leidschendam, 14 September 2017. A hearing will take place on Wednesday 11 October 2017 at 9.30 am C.E.T, according to a scheduling order issued yesterday by the STL Appeals Chamber.

The Appeals Chamber's hearing will provide the Prosecutor and Head of the Defence Office an opportunity to make oral submissions on the legal questions raised by the Pre Trial Judge, who is currently reviewing a confidential indictment filed for confirmation. During this process, he found necessary that the Appeals Chamber clarifies certain aspects of the applicable law.

The questions concern the crime of criminal association as defined in Article 335 of the Lebanese Criminal Code and the criteria for reviewing the indictment.

The hearing will start with opening remarks by the President of the Appeals Chamber, Judge Ivana Hrdličková. The Prosecutor will then be invited to make his oral submissions, followed by the Head of the Defence Office.

After hearing the parties, the Appeals Chamber will render its interlocutory decision in due course.

Important note to the journalists: Accreditation is mandatory for the media who wish to attend the hearing. Please fill in the accreditation form before Monday 9 October 2017, 17.30 C.E.T

Background information:

  1. Rule 68 (G) of STL Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that "the Pre Trial Judge may submit to the Appeals Chamber any preliminary question, on the interpretation of the Agreement, statute and Rules regarding the applicable law, that he deems necessary in order to examine and rule on an indictment.
  2. Rule 176 (bis) states that the Appeals Chamber shall issue an interlocutory decision on any question raised by the Pre Trial Judge under Rule 68 (G) without prejudging the rights of any accused. The Appeals Chamber is also mandated to hear the views of the Prosecutor and the Head of the Defence Office in a public session.

Please note that the content of the indictment remains confidential and will not be discussed during the hearing. Its contents may only become public if the indictment is confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Victim's daughter testifies at Lebanon assassination trial

BY MIKE CORDER Associated Press AUGUST 28, 2017 12:24 PM
A woman whose father died in the 2005 bombing that killed Lebanon's former prime minister and 21 others testified in court Monday about her frantic days hunting for traces of him after the explosion as her hopes of finding her father alive ebbed away.

Lama Ghalayini was the first of seven witnesses expected to testify before the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon over the next two weeks at the marathon trial in absentia of four suspects in the attack in Beirut.

The suspects are members of the Hezbollah militant group, which denies involvement in former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination. One of those originally indicted, Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine, was killed in Syria in 2016.

The trial started in January 2014 and prosecutors have so far presented more than 230 witnesses. The suspects have not been arrested and were not in the United Nations-backed court, but lawyers are representing them.

People injured by the bomb and relatives of those killed are being given the opportunity to tell the tribunal about how the attack affected their lives and by extension, its broader impact on Lebanese society.

Ghalayini said she suffered depression and post-traumatic stress after the death of her father, Abdul-Hameed Mohammed Ghalayini.

"I wish this day could be erased from the calendar," she said of the Feb. 14, 2005 blast. "I think it is the only thing that really could relieve me."

Speaking by video link from Beirut, Ghalayini said she and her family scoured hospitals and a morgue and used sniffer dogs to no avail. Her father's remains were recovered more than two weeks later, lying face down under a shallow layer of sand.

Ghalayini was critical of Lebanese authorities for not doing more to help her family in the hunt for her father, who was killed while taking his daily walk along Beirut's seafront.

His daughter was not in Lebanon at the time of the bombing, but said she heard the explosion while she was speaking by phone to a company in Beirut. She flew home as soon as she could.

"It was horrible to see the scene of the explosion and just imagine where my father could have been," she said through an interpreter. "It was really a shock for me."

At the end of her testimony, Ghalayini told judges she hoped the perpetrators eventually will be brought to justice.

"I will never rest until the criminals are prosecuted," she said.