Beirut 30th May 2011 - Several representatives of the STL have participated in a major conference on international criminal justice in Beirut. The three-day event was organised by two Lebanese NGOs – the Scientific Association for the Dissemination of Legal Culture in the Arab World and Justice without Frontiers – in cooperation with the STL Outreach section.
Nearly 200 people attended the conference, which placed the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the context of international justice. There were discussions on many topics including the establishment and mandate of international judicial institutions, their jurisdiction, the complexity of international investigations and prosecutions, the protection of witnesses, the rights of the accused, the participation of victims, cooperation of states, as well as the impact of the judicial institutions on the communities affected by their work.
The conference concluded with discussions on the most recent legal developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The participants expressed their commitment to the force of law as opposed to the law of force, which they considered essential to the achievement of international peace and security and a guarantee of the respect of human rights. The participants also highlighted the necessity of empowering international criminal justice mechanisms so that they may contribute to a peaceful coexistence among nations.
The organizers unanimously adopted three recommendations. The first called on Arab countries to join the ICC, the second called upon the civil society in the Arab world to disseminate the culture of human rights, and the third called upon legal professionals and academics to engage with and contribute to international criminal justice.
The was the first event of its kind in Lebanon and brought together officials and experts from several courts including the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the STL.
Also present were legal experts from many Arab countries including Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Sudan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria and Egypt.