Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Debate on the Middle East.

Rosemary A. DiCarlo
Deputy  Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 

New York, NY
January 19, 2011
 Excerpts:
Mr. President, let me now turn to Lebanon. We echo the Secretary-General's statement of support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and his call to all parties to refrain from any interference or influence in its work.
We welcome the recent announcement by the Prosecutor for the Tribunal that he has filed an indictment relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. This represents an important step toward ending the era of impunity for political murder in Lebanon and achieving justice for the Lebanese people.
Mr. President, we urge that Lebanon's constitutional process be followed in selecting its next government, and we encourage all parties to avoid threats or actions that could cause instability in Lebanon or the region. We urge this Council and the international community to remain firm in its support for Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, resolute in its commitment to all Security Council resolutions related to Lebanon, and vigilant to threats to international peace and security.
We commend the efforts of France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other key international and regional actors working to maintain calm in Lebanon and ensure that the Tribunal's work continues unimpeded. We support French President Sarkozy's intention to form a contact group to help resolve the political crisis in Lebanon. We support a political outcome that reduces tension and allows the Lebanese government to return to the business of the people, without undermining the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Lebanese people should not have to choose between justice and stability. Like all nations, Lebanon deserves both.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bellemare condemns unlawful breech of STL material

NNA - 18/01/2011 The office of Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued a statement expressing worry due to unlawful broadcast of confidential STL material.
"Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is very concerned with the recent unauthorized broadcasts on some Lebanese TV channels of what appear to be interviews conducted by officials of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC). This material is confidential and protected information and was made public in breach of the law. The Prosecutor is exploring all possible avenues, in The Hague and in Lebanon, to determine how this confidential information came into the public domain and to prevent any further unauthorized disclosure.
The Prosecutor strongly condemns the disclosure of this confidential information and gives his assurance that his office will continue to spare no effort in the pursuit of justice.
For further information, please contact the Office of the Prosecutor at the following email address: stl-otppressoffice@un.org or at + 31 (0) 70 800 3438.
For information about the Tribunal generally, please contact the Tribunal's Press Office at stl-pressoffice@un.org or at + 31 (0) 70 800 3667."

Head of STL Defence Office issues statement

NNA - 18/01/2011 Fran├žois Roux, Head of Defence Office for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, issued a statement clarifying that accused persons will have fair and effective representation in the future.

"The Defence Office takes note of the press releases issued by the Registrar and the Prosecutor, announcing the filing of an indictment.

If the indictment is confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge, the Defence Office wishes to draw attention to the fact that, since its establishment, it has put into place procedures that will allow future accused persons to be represented by counsel of their choice, in accordance with the rules of the STL. In the ensuing legal debate, the Defence Office will ensure that all the necessary means are made available to the defence teams so as to afford them the indispensable equality of arms with the Office of the Prosecutor. This equality of arms obviously includes the time that will be required to prepare an effective defence.

The Defence Office, which is an independent organ of the Tribunal, requests that there be no speculation at this stage, either with regard to the identity of the suspects, or to their possible guilt, or to the starting date of the proceedings.

For further information, please contact Mr. Joeri Maas, Defence Office Coordinator, Office number: +31 (0) 70 800 3595, Email maas@un.org For general information about the STL, please contact the STL Press Office at stl-pressoffice@un.org

STL Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare video statement following filing of indictment

The Hague, 18 January 2011
Yesterday I signed an indictment in the Hariri case and filed it with the Registrar for transmission to the Pre-Trial Judge.
In doing so, I have made good on the first part of my promise to the People of Lebanon when I left Beirut on 28 February 2009. At that time, I said that "My team and I will do everything that is humanly and legally possible to ensure that the truth emerges and that those responsible for the crimes that fall within our jurisdiction are (…) brought to justice".
This is an important moment for the People of Lebanon.
It marks the launch of the judicial phase of the Tribunal's work. For the first time, a legal case has been launched by an international Tribunal against those responsible for a political assassination in Lebanon. This step has been taken at the request and on behalf of the People of Lebanon and in fulfillment of a mandate from the United Nations Security Council.
This is also an important moment for the international community – and for those who believe in international justice.
It has been a long process; but you have been patient. Thank you.
To all the victims, a special word of thanks.
Many attacks have been made against the Tribunal but you were not shaken: you kept your hope alive; you continued to believe in the Tribunal, its independence and professionalism. Thank you.
I know some of you think this has taken a long time. Yet for others, the filing of an indictment comes too soon. Let me address these two issues.
2
To the first, I would say that justice cannot be rushed. The evidence must be credible and compelling. I have made it clear from the start that I would act independently and that I would be driven by the evidence alone.
To those who did not expect or want this day to come, I would say that while justice may be slow, it is deliberate.
I am enormously proud of the persistence and professionalism of my staff and grateful to them. They are all passionate about this case. I thank them for their dedication to the task, their commitment to justice for Lebanon and their sense of duty.
I also want to thank the Lebanese Authorities for their support and ongoing assistance. It has been essential.
The indictment filed yesterday represents the fruit of the hard work, under challenging circumstances, of all those involved in the process.
This is only a first step in our collective quest to end impunity in Lebanon. A quest that must be pursued through existing laws and institutions.
It is now up to the Pre-Trial Judge to review the indictment and the supporting material that we have gathered.
Confidentiality
Let me now turn to the confidentiality of the process. As frustrating as it may be, the content of the indictment must remain confidential for the time being. So, unfortunately, you will have to wait a little bit longer.
According to the Rules of the Tribunal, I cannot reveal either the charges or the name of the person or persons referred to in the indictment.
This continued confidentiality is essential as I cannot presume that the Pre-Trial Judge will confirm the indictment.
If it is confirmed, the content of the document will be made public in due course and when so ordered by the Pre-Trial Judge.
Many of your questions will be answered at that time. As the trial process unfolds, you will have the opportunity to satisfy yourselves as to the strength of the evidence that we have gathered.
3
In the meantime, any speculation about the contents of the indictment would be counter-productive as the Pre-Trial Judge may not agree with me.
Public Hearing
To assist him in his review, the Pre-Trial Judge may submit to the Appeals Chamber preliminary legal questions necessary to review and rule on the indictment. The Appeals Chamber may then order a public hearing, which will be limited to questions of law.
It will not deal with any of the facts contained in the indictment, the identity of any of the persons or any of the charges contained in that document.
Presumption of Innocence
This indictment is not only a first step on the road to ending impunity in Lebanon; it is also the first step of the judicial process.
Any person or persons named in the indictment are presumed innocent.
And even after the indictment is confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge – if it is – the person or persons whose identity is contained in the document are still presumed innocent. This means that the Prosecution will have to prove before a trial court, and beyond a reasonable doubt – that they are guilty. If there is a reasonable doubt, the accused will be acquitted.
Any accused has the right to defend himself vigorously against the allegations contained in an indictment. The Office of the Defence has been created to assist the accused and their counsel in ensuring that the best possible defence is offered.
Conclusion
In conclusion, our work is far from over.
I can assure you that we will continue our mission with the same level of passion and commitment, respecting fully the rights of the victims and the accused.
Thank you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Prosecutor for Special Tribunal for Lebanon Files Indictment for Confirmation by Pre-Trial Judge

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 17, 2011
Today's action by the Prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an important step toward justice and ending impunity for murder. Those who oppose the Tribunal seek to create a false choice between justice and stability in Lebanon; we reject this.
We are confident that the Tribunal will continue to operate according to the highest standards of judicial independence and integrity. We call on all parties to promote calm and continue to respect the Tribunal as it carries out its duties in a professional and apolitical manner.
The United States and all friends of Lebanon stand together in support of its sovereignty and independence. While great progress has been made since this deadly attack in 2005, it will be impossible to achieve the peace and stability that the people of Lebanon deserve unless and until the era of impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon is brought to an end.

Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare Files Indictment in the Hariri Case

Leidschendam, 17 January 2011:  Today, the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel A. Bellemare, filed a confidential indictment in connection with the attack on former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others on 14 February 2005. The indictment was filed with the Tribunal's Registrar, who will submit it to the Pre-Trial Judge. 
The indictment marks the beginning of the judicial phase of the Tribunal's work. The Prosecutor and his team will continue to vigorously pursue his mandate with respect to both continued investigative activity and the prosecution of this case.
The Prosecutor will address the significance of the filing of this indictment in a videotaped statement to be issued tomorrow.

Statement by the President on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Announcement

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                  January 17, 2011

 
I welcome the announcement by the Office of the Prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon today that he has filed an indictment relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. This action represents an important step toward ending the era of impunity for murder in Lebanon, and achieving justice for the Lebanese people.  I know that this is a significant and emotional time for the Lebanese people, and we join the international community in calling on all Lebanese leaders and factions to preserve calm and exercise restraint.  The United States is a strong friend of Lebanon and we stand steadfastly with others in support of Lebanese sovereignty, independence, and stability.

 

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon must be allowed to continue its work, free from interference and coercion.  That is the way to advance the search for the truth, the cause of justice, and the future of Lebanon.  Those who have tried to manufacture a crisis and force a choice between justice or stability in Lebanon are offering a false choice, as the Lebanese people have a right to both justice and stability, and efforts to undercut the STL only legitimize its efforts and suggest its opponents have something to hide.  Any attempt to fuel tensions and instability, in Lebanon or in the region, will only undermine the very freedom and aspirations that the Lebanese people seek and that so many nations support.  At this critical moment, all friends of Lebanon must stand with the people of Lebanon

Reaffirming Strong Support as Special Tribunal for Lebanon Files Indictment in Hariri Killing, Secretary-General Reiterates Non-Interference Call

SG/SM/13354, Jan 17 2010
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
 
The Secretary-General reaffirms his strong support for the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The filing of an indictment today by the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is in pursuit of its mandate to end impunity for the terrible crimes that took the life of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, and 22 others in the attack of 14 February 2005, and related attacks.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an independent court of law established at the request of the Government of Lebanon, with a clear mandate from the United Nations Security Council. The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to refrain from any interference or influence in its work, but to allow it to proceed in accordance with the highest legal principles and standards applied by all United Nations-assisted international tribunals.

The independent judicial process should not be linked with any political debate. It is important not to prejudge the outcome of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
 

Do not politicize STL, Ban says.

Masdar City, United Arab Emirates, 17 January 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks at Press Conference [full transcript]
Excerpts:
I am closely monitoring developments in Lebanon.
I strongly support the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
It is an independent court of law established at the request of the Government of Lebanon, with a clear mandate from the United Nations Security Council.
The independent judicial process should not be linked with any political debate. It is important not to prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
And no one should politicize the work of the Tribunal. In this context, I would like to stress the need for calm, dialogue and respect for the country's laws and Constitution.
I reiterate my full support for the independent work of the Special Tribunal and I have full confidence in its staff.
Excerpts:
Q: [in Arabic, on Lebanon and Iran]
SG: First of all, about Lebanon: even though there has been a collapse of government, Prime Minister Hariri is now working as caretaker prime minister, and I understand that President Suleiman is also talking with all political party leaders to form a new government. I hope that this new government will be established as soon as possible. It is important, because the people of Lebanon have the right to enjoy genuine freedom and stability. They cannot continue [to live in] this kind of instability. I also hope that the international community will [stand by] the Lebanese people. For its part, the United Nations will continue to do so. Our mission there, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has a mandate by the Security Council to help restore peace and stability, and so UNIFIL will continue its work in accordance with its mandate.
Q: [on work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon]
SG: I have made the position of the United Nations very clear. I will continue to emphasize that the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is part of an international judiciary process which should be fully respected by the international community, including by the people of Lebanon and whoever else it may concern. It is very important work, to put an end to impunity and to establish a system of international justice.
Q: Are you concerned that the crisis in Tunisia might spread to other countries in the region? [followed by question on Lebanon]?
SG: On Lebanon, I do not have much more to add to what I have already stated. This is a matter of principle, that there should be no impunity. We must bring an end to impunity. That is why the United Nations has established a number of tribunals, starting with International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. I hope this sends a strong message down the road.

STL Prosecutor submits an indictment to the Pre-Trial Judge

Leidschendam, 17 January 2011 – The Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Herman von Hebel, can confirm that the Prosecutor of the tribunal has submitted an indictment and supporting materials to the Pre-Trial Judge. The documents, which relate to the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and others, were handed to the Registry at 16:35PM (local time) on Monday 17th January 2011. They will now be reviewed by the Pre-Trial Judge, Daniel Fransen. The contents of the indictment remain confidential at this stage.