Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, December 31, 2013)

Special Tribunal for Lebanon - Payment by the Lebanese authorities of their contribution
France welcomes the payment by the Lebanese authorities of their contribution to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for 2013.
Following the murder of Mohammed Chattah, it reaffirms its support for the Lebanese government in its determination to combat all forms of terrorism and its commitment to combating impunity.
The forthcoming opening of hearings in the trial in relation to the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will be a significant milestone in this respect.

Funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 30, 2013

The United States welcomes Lebanon's decision to fulfill its 2013 funding obligations to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. We recognize and commend caretaker Prime Minister Mikati's strong leadership in ensuring that the government met this important commitment. We fully support the work of the Tribunal and its efforts to find and hold accountable those responsible for reprehensible and destabilizing acts of violence in Lebanon.

The December 27 assassination bombing in Beirut is a stark reminder that for too long, Lebanon has suffered from a culture of impunity for those who use murder and terror to promote their political agenda against the interests of the Lebanese people. The Tribunal, working with the Government of Lebanon, will help end this impunity by providing a transparent, fair process to determine responsibility for the terrorist attack that killed former Prime Minister Hariri and scores of others.

Continued financial support and ongoing cooperation by Lebanon's political, judicial, and law enforcement authorities are critical to the Tribunal's work. That is why the United States has provided strong financial support to the Tribunal since its inception, and we will continue to do so. We urge the international community to continue to support the Tribunal and the Government of Lebanon to achieve the shared goals of ensuring justice and ending impunity. We stand with the Lebanese people in these efforts and will continue to do so.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ministry of Finance transfers Lebanon's share to STL

Fri 27 Dec 2013
NNA - The Ministry of Finance on Friday said that it had transferred to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Lebanon's share which was worth 29-Million-Euro amount.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hezbollah denied STL access to southern suburbs

December 23, 2013
The Daily Star, By Kareem Shaheen
BEIRUT: Hezbollah has denied access to the southern suburbs multiple times to Lebanese investigators assisting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in their search for a suspect accused of complicity in the Hariri assassination, a document published by the court has revealed.

The document offers unprecedented details into how Lebanese criminal investigators acting under the Prosecutor General were stymied by Hezbollah in their efforts to arrest Hassan Habib Merhi, a party suspect indicted this summer, by being outright denied access to neighborhoods in Beirut.

It also shows that government investigators had to repeatedly ask for permission from Hezbollah before attempting to interview Merhi or even affix a wanted poster at his residence.

The document, which details the STL trial chamber's decision to try Merhi in absentia, reveals in stark detail the Lebanese government's powerlessness in carrying out arrest warrants against the Hezbollah suspects, protected in an edict by the party's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who said he would cut off the hand of any who attempt to arrest his party's cadres.

The STL is tasked with investigating the Valentine's Day bombing in 2005 that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others.

The court has indicted five Hezbollah members in connection with the attack. Trial for four of them – Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Assad Sabra and Hussein Oneissi, is scheduled to begin in absentia in January.

The court decided last week to try Merhi in absentia, after determining that efforts to reach out to him had failed.

Hezbollah's efforts to undermine Merhi's arrest are detailed in a section explaining the rationale behind the decision taken.

It describes efforts by the Lebanese Prosecutor General, working with the Central Criminal Investigation Section, in arresting Merhi and informing him of the charges leveled against him by the tribunal.

The first obstacle came up after the indictment against Merhi was confirmed in July. The indictment was sent to the Prosecutor General, who then sent it to the CCIS.

But just three days later, 30 people were killed in a car bomb explosion in Ruwaiss, a neighborhood in the southern suburbs, prompting Hezbollah to barricade all entrances into the area.

"The Acting Prosecutor-General reported that CCIS officers tried to go into Dahyieh several times to look for Mr. Merhi, but that these security measures prevented them from doing so," the trial chamber said in its decision.

The officers then contacted "the Security Committee of Hezbollah to negotiate access."

The party denied the request, saying the government could not carry out any tasks related to Merhi in the suburbs or his home village in Nabatieh due to the security situation.

The statement appears to be the first explicit acknowledgement by the court that the party is actively obstructing its work. It also raises questions over Lebanon's ability to cooperate with the tribunal, particularly since Hezbollah is part of the government.

The admission that the authorities are cooperating with Hezbollah in the investigation is also surprising since the party has disavowed the tribunal, describing it as a Western and Zionist conspiracy to undermine the resistance.

Lebanese investigators were unable to access Merhi's home in Beirut until Dec. 6, months after his indictment was confirmed and even made public, and when all chances of arrest would have been remote.

After the first attempt's failure, CCIS officers tried to post a copy of the indictment and arrest warrant against Merhi at his last known residence. They also tried to provide a copy to the mukhtars of Burj al-Barajneh, Haret Hreik, Zoqaq al-Blat and Ain Qana.

None of the mukhtars showed up for a meeting with the officers.

The officers held several meetings with the Hezbollah "Central Security Committee" to allow them to post the indictment at Merhi's home.

Hezbollah once again denied the officers access.

A party official "told them that they could not go there because Mr. Merhi's family was very upset that his name had been circulated in the media as an accused in the case of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his companions," the trial chamber said.

The trial chamber also revealed that Lebanese investigators coordinated with Hezbollah in an attempt to interview Merhi as a suspect in June 2012, but when they arrived at his apartment in Burj al-Barajneh, he was not present. They visited his home twice after that, but found the apartment empty after knocking on the door and receiving no answer.

The document also provides previously unknown details about Merhi, whose last known residence was an apartment in the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in the southern suburbs. He also owns real estate in the village of Ain Qana in Nabatieh.

Merhi obtained passports in 1993 and 2007 and has not officially left Lebanon since returning from a visit to Syria in October 2002.

Merhi is accused of coordinating the preparation of a false claim of responsibility for the Hariri assassination and for helping recruit Abu Adass, a man who appeared in a video claiming responsibility for the attack aired on Al-Jazeera.

Merhi is also one of only three users of the "green network" – telephones allegedly used by the leaders of the assassination team.

Prosecutor Norman Farrell has asked the trial chamber to combine the two cases of Merhi and the other four accused because they are all allegedly part of the same conspiracy.

Defence Office Press Release - Counsel assigned to represent the rights and interests of the Accused Hassan Habib Merhi

Leidschendam, 23 December 2013 – The Head of Defence Office was seized of a letter from the Pre-Trial Judge, dated 20 December 2013, requesting him to assign counsel to the Accused Hassan Habib Merhi, following the decision of the Trial Chamber of the same day which decided to initiate proceedings in absentia.
On 20 December 2013, the Head of Defence Office appointed Mr. Mohamed Aouini, counsel at the Tunis Bar, as lead counsel to defend the rights and interests of Mr. Merhi. Mr. Aouini has extensive experience in international criminal law, notably before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and speaks Arabic and French.
Mr. Aouini is already working on interviewing several lawyers and legal officers, notably Lebanese lawyers included on the list of counsel, in order to create his defence team. Once the team is set up, and after it has received the evidence disclosed by the Office of the Prosecutor, the team will be in a position to study and analyse the voluminous Prosecution file, and subsequently conduct its investigations so as to prepare the defence for Mr. Merhi.
The Head of Defence Office recalls that the defence team for Mr. Merhi must have adequate time and means, on the same terms as those accorded to the Office of the Prosecutor, in order to accomplish its mission to ensure the Accused has a fair trial.
"To defend is to refuse to accept anything which has not been scrutinised analytically". Mr Jean Boudot, Marseille, France.

Audit Bureau approves paying Lebanon's share of funding STL decree

Mon 23 Dec 2013
NNA - Ministry of Finance issued a statement in which it mentioned that Caretaker Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, was informed from the Audit Bureau head, Judge Aouni Ramadan, that the Bureau approved the decree of paying Lebanon's share in funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). 
Accordingly, the decree becomes active according to the observed procedures.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Decision on trial in absentia in the Merhi case

Leidschendam, 20 December 2013 – The Trial Chamber decided today to try Hassan Habib Merhi in his absence.
In issuing this decision on trial in absentia, the judges relied on reports from the Lebanese authorities detailing their efforts to apprehend the Accused and to inform him of the charges against him. They also relied on efforts by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to publicise the indictment against Mr. Merhi and on its widespread coverage in the Lebanese media.
An indictment against Mr. Merhi was confirmed in July 2013 and served on the Lebanese authorities to search for, arrest and transfer the accused to the custody of the STL. This is an ongoing obligation.
"The Trial Chamber has concluded that Mr. Merhi has absconded or otherwise cannot be found and all reasonable steps have been taken to secure his appearance before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and to inform him of the charges by the Pre Trial Judge," the decision stated.
The STL is the only international tribunal that allows for trial in absentia, which is permissible under Lebanese law. Trials in absentia are a measure of last resort possible under strict conditions:
If the accused has waived the right to be present;
If the accused has fled or cannot be found;
If the State concerned has not handed the accused over to the tribunal.
The Prosecution has now applied to join Mr. Merhi's case with the four Accused in the Ayyash et al. case. If permitted, Mr. Merhi would then be jointly charged and tried in the Ayyash proceedings.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Statement of Judge David Baragwanath, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, to Hassan Habib Merhi

Leidschendam, 13 December 2013 – "Seven weeks ago, on 21 October 2013, I invited you to consider whether you are prepared to face the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to answer the charges in the indictment. These are very serious charges, including acts of terrorism and murder. I urge you to get legal advice and appoint a lawyer to represent you before the Tribunal. As an alternative to appearing in person in the Netherlands, you may have the right to participate in hearings by video-conference."
The indictment against Mr. Merhi was confirmed in June this year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UK Support to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Written statement to Parliament
Organisation: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Delivered on: December 10, 2013

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has updated Parliament on the UK's contribution to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
The Foreign Secretary William Hague:
I am pleased to announce that the UK intends to make a voluntary contribution of £undefined million to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
The UK is committed to supporting security, stability and justice for the people of Lebanon. This contribution to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is a signal of our steadfast support for its work to end the climate of impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon. The Minister of State for the Middle East, Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, is in Lebanon this week to reinforce these points.
International justice is central to foreign policy. It is essential for securing the rights of individuals and states, and for securing peace and reconciliation. Through the International Criminal Court, and the separate international tribunals, we are working to make clear that those responsible for the most serious crimes will be held to account. Our support to the institutions of international justice is an important part of our efforts to reduce conflict and promote stability worldwide.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

STL Media Advisory - Trial date announced for the Ayyash et al. case

Leidschendam, 10 December 2013 - The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has scheduled the start of trial in the case of Ayyash et al. for Thursday 16 January 2014. This decision has been made after consulting the parties to the case at the Trial Chamber's last public hearing.
The trial will commence at 09:30 (CET) with opening statements by the Prosecutor, the Legal Representatives of the Victims participating in the proceedings, as well as opening statements, if any, for the Defence.
The Trial Chamber has also announced that there will be a Pre-Trial Conference starting at 10:30AM (CET) on Thursday 9 January 2014.
Accreditation details for both the trial and the Pre-Trial Conference will be sent to members of the press in due course.

Monday, December 2, 2013

STL announces postponement of trial to January 14

Mon 02 Dec 2013
NNA - The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced in a statement Monday the postponement of the trial till January 14.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

STL Trial Chamber to hold a second Pre-Trial conference

Leidschendam, 26 November 2013 - The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will hold a second Pre-Trial Conference on Monday 02 December in preparation for the start of the trial in the Ayyash et al. case.

The Pre-Trial Conference, which will be public, will begin at 2 PM (Central European Time). The Trial Chamber may decide to go into closed session if confidential matters need to be discussed.

This Pre-Trial Conference is to further prepare for the start of trial on 13 January 2014. It follows a previous one held on 29 October 2013.

The hearing can be followed on the STL website with a 30-minute delay in Arabic, English and French.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trial Chamber holds its first pre-trial hearing

Oct 29 2013 - The Trial Chamber convened today for the first Pre-Trial conference to take place at the STL. The Presiding Judge, David Re, opened the public hearing by stating that it is the intention of the Trial Chamber to start trial on 13 January 2014. He also called on the parties to cooperate with the Trial Chamber so that it will be able to meet the start of trial expeditiously. However, Judge Re noted that the Trial Chamber is now seized of 12 outstanding motions, which may potentially have an impact on the date that trial begins. In the meantime there will be other Pre-Trial conferences, with the next hearing expected next month.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) was asked to outline how they will they present their case in court. The OTP stated that it intends to present three "chapters". The first relating to what happened in and around the area of the explosion on 14 February 2005. The second will focus on the preparation of the bombing, the purchase of the vehicle used in the attack, and the acts and attempts to falsely attribute the attack. In the third part of their case, the OTP will present evidence attributing responsibility to the four accused. Chapters 2 and 3 will proceed "in tandem" as they are based on call data records and are thus, according to the OTP, clearly linked.
Turning to exhibits and witnesses the OTP said that it is in the second stage of reviewing its lists – a process which will "significantly" reduce their number. It also stated that its opening statement on 13 January 2014 will be complete within two days. The Prosecutor's representative in court indicated that they intend to submit the evidence of a large number of witnesses in writing.
Presiding Judge Re noted that the most significant of the 12 pending motions before the Trial Chamber is a request by the Defence for a stay of the proceedings. The Defence counsel said that their lack of readiness is due to "difficulties getting cooperation from the Lebanese authorities". Defence counsel for Mr. Badreddine claimed they are not ready for trial in the present conditions for many reasons, including the volume of the OTP's evidence. The Defence counsel for Mr. Sabra noted the importance of the outstanding filings including the request for a stay of the proceedings. Defence counsel for Mr. Oneissi also expressed their concerns regarding the volume of disclosed evidence. Defence counsel for Mr. Ayyash submitted the views of all Defence teams on the indictment against the fifth accused Mr. Hassan Habib Merhi – arguing that the indictment against Mr. Merhi, which was confirmed in July, may have an impact on the start of trial, especially if the Prosecution intends to request that this case be joined with Ayyash et al.
The Legal Representative for Victims said he will be ready for trial, adding that he wishes to make an opening statement on the first day of trial and intends to have 8-10 victims present in the courtroom for opening speeches. Both these requests were granted by the Trial Chamber.

Pre Trial Judge transfers the complete Ayyash et al. case file to Trial Chamber

Leidschendam, 28 October 2013 – The Pre-Trial Judge completed the transfer of the entire Ayyash et al. file, containing the evidence and all other documents that relate to the case. The Trial Chamber will now continue to prepare for the start of trial, which is scheduled tentatively for 13 January 2014.
The indictment against the four accused— Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra – was confirmed in June 2011.
STL judges decided in 2012 that the Tribunal can try the accused in their absence, which is permissible under Lebanese Law. The four accused remain at large, but the Lebanese authorities have an ongoing obligation to search for, arrest and transfer the accused to STL custody.
According to the Tribunal's rules, the Pre-Trial Judge is required to submit a complete file in order to allow the Trial Chamber to be seized of the case. A publicly redacted version of the confidential report accompanying the transfer of the case will be available in due course. It is now for the Trial Chamber to confirm a final date for the start of trial.
The transfer of the case file is a significant development in the proceedings of the Ayyash et al. case and it marks the start of the transition from the pre-trial to the trial phase. During trial, the Prosecution, Defence
Counsel and the Legal Representatives of the Victims will present their arguments before the judges of the Trial Chamber.
A public hearing will be held tomorrow, on 29 October, by the Trial Chamber judges to discuss matters related to the preparation of trial.

Friday, October 11, 2013

STL requests that the Lebanese authorities take further steps to advertise new accused

Beirut, 11 October 2013 – Representatives of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon delivered today posters of Hassan Habib Merhi to the Lebanese authorities for the purpose of public advertisement. Mr. Merhi is accused of being involved in the 14 February 2005 Beirut attack.

According to the Tribunal's rules, the Lebanese authorities are requested to advertise the poster in the media to notify the public and to call on the accused to surrender to the Tribunal. The information given to the Lebanese authorities includes the biographical details of Mr. Merhi along with two identifying photographs.
The STL Prosecution's case and charges against Mr. Merhi are outlined in the publicly redacted version of the indictment.
A high resolution of the poster can be found on the STL Flickr account.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

STL Indicts Hassan Habib Merhi in 14 February 2005 Beirut attac

Leidschendam, 10 October 2013 – The Pre-Trial Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has confirmed an indictment against Hassan Habib Merhi who is accused of being involved in the 14 February 2005 Beirut attack.

The confirmed indictment and an arrest warrant were transmitted confidentially to the Lebanese authorities on 6 August so that they could search for, arrest and transfer the accused to STL custody.

The Lebanese authorities were given 30 calendar days to carry out this obligation and report back on their efforts by 5 September 2013.

On 6 September, the Lebanese Prosecutor General submitted his confidential report to the Tribunal's President, Judge Sir David Baragwanath, stating that so far the accused has not been found. Subsequently, the STL President requested additional measures be taken by the Lebanese authorities.

All of these steps have been confidential until now to allow the Lebanese authorities the best opportunity to apprehend the accused.

Under the current circumstances in Lebanon, the STL President has deemed the efforts by the Lebanese authorities to be sufficient to justify alternative means to search for the accused. As a result, the STL President has determined to initiate a 30-day public advertisement phase with the help of the Lebanese authorities to locate the accused as well as to inform him of the charges against him and of his rights, which are guaranteed under international law.

The STL President also calls on the Lebanese authorities to "reinvigorate and intensify their efforts to apprehend" the accused.
Lebanon has an ongoing obligation under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1757 to search for, arrest and transfer the accused to STL custody.

The STL Prosecution's case and charges against Mr Merhi are outlined in the publically redacted version of the indictment.

Four other individuals have been indicted by the STL for their alleged role in the 14 February 2005 attack: Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, Assad Hassan Sabra. The Pre Trial judge has set tentatively 13 January 2014 as the first day of trial for these four accused.

Prosecutor Farrell welcomes the Pre-Trial Judge’s Decisions Confirming the Indictment against Hassan Habib Merhi and Lifting confidentiality

Leidschendam, 10 October 2013 – Today, Prosecutor Norman Farrell welcomed the public announcement of the indictment against Hassan Habib Merhi for his alleged role in the 14 February 2005 attack that claimed the life of former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, as well as 21 other victims, and injured 226 people.
The Prosecutor's indictment against the accused Hassan Habib Merhi was confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on 31 July 2013, following the request of the Prosecutor on 5 June 2013.
"The Office of the Prosecutor continues its efforts to fully investigate and prosecute those alleged to be responsible for the attack on 14 February 2005. Recognizing that all suspects are presumed innocent and have the right to a full defence, the Prosecution is working towards accountability, preparing to present reliable and credible evidence to the Trial Chamber" noted Prosecutor Farrell.
The accused, Hassan Habib Merhi, is charged with a number of crimes including the crime of conspiracy aimed at committing a terrorist act. He is alleged to have acted in a conspiracy with Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra in relation to the attack on 14 February 2005, all of whom have already been indicted. The accused Merhi is alleged to have coordinated the preparation of the purported claim of responsibility as part of the preparations for and in furtherance of, the attack.
The Prosecutor stated that "my Office remains committed to working at full capacity to bring perpetrators to justice and, by doing so, to achieve a just result for the victims".
The public redacted version of the indictment can be found on the STL website.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

STL President thanks Lebanon for continued support, promises fair trial

Thu 18 Apr 2013
NNA - The President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Sir David Baragwanath Thursday issued the following statement at the end of his four-day trip to Lebanon:

 "I am pleased that I had the opportunity to meet and confer with a number of Lebanese officials including President Michel Suleiman, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, Minister of Justice Shakib Qortbawi, Chief Justice Judge Jean Fahed, Prosecutor General Hatem Madi, as well as young judges and leaders of the Beirut Bar Association, including present and former Bâtonniers. 

I thanked all parties for the generous support Lebanon and they themselves have accorded the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and received assurances that the Tribunal will continue to receive their support. 

For my part, I briefed the officials on developments in the Tribunal. I reiterated that the need to postpone the tentative March 25 trial start date was to ensure that the judicial proceedings are fair. This requires that all parties have sufficient time to prepare for trial. 

I also discussed the recent anonymous publication of information which purportedly relate to alleged witnesses. The Tribunal has condemned such interferences in the proper administration of judicial proceedings. I informed Lebanese officials of our actions in this respect and in turn I received their reassurance of Lebanon's cooperation with the STL's response. 

This concerted campaign by a few to undermine the work of the Tribunal makes us more determined to fulfill our mandate. We will ensure a trial that is fair, expeditious and conducted with full respect for the rights of the accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses. 

We are further determined, in the interests of Lebanon as a whole, to bring to justice those who currently seek to hide behind a cover of anonymity. We are encouraged by the continued and heartening message that the Lebanese community joins us in rejecting this affront to due process."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Madi, Hebel tackle distribution of alleged "secret witnesses" names' issue.

Fri 12 Apr 2013 - NNA - General Prosecutor, Judge Hatem Madi, met Friday noon with Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Registrar, Herman von Hebel, where they took up the issue of the distribution of alleged "secret witnesses" names.

Talks also reportedly dwelt on cooperation issues between STL and the Lebanese judiciary.

"As soon as we receive the request of the International Tribunal on the distribution of the alleged secret witnesses' names, we shall carry out the full steps to uncover the side which has published these names," Madi stressed before STL Registrar.

Madi pointed out that he requested Criminal Investigation to take action, providing it with a copy move of what has been published.

Madi also affirmed that the persons whose names were published are entitled to file lawsuits against the publisher side.

Hebel, for his part, requested from Madi to take steps at the level of the Lebanese judiciary on this matter. Madi replied that the Lebanese judiciary is ready to respond to STL's official requests.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tribunal condemns attempts to interfere with judicial process.

Leidschendam, 11 April 2013 –The Special Tribunal for Lebanon condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest attempt to interfere with the proper administration of justice by publishing a list of alleged witnesses and potentially endangering the lives of Lebanese citizens.
The list of persons that could be placed at risk by this irresponsible website is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of official court records.
The Tribunal will not comment on the Prosecution's witness list as submitted in the Pre Trial Brief as it is currently confidential by a judicial order.
Those behind the website purporting to unveil the "truth", are in grave breach of journalistic ethics and employ questionable methods such as Internet hacking.
Any attempt to knowingly and willfully interfere with the judicial process, including disclosure of confidential material or threatening, intimidating, or otherwise interfering with potential witnesses, is taken very seriously by the four organs of the Tribunal.
The Tribunal can confirm that it has requested the assistance of Lebanese authorities and others in this matter
so that appropriate measures may be taken if necessary.
While there are measures currently being undertaken by the Tribunal in response to the website that purports to name alleged witnesses, discussing those measures in public could hinder our efforts.

Monday, March 11, 2013

STL fourth annual report

Leidschendam, 8 March 2013 - The fourth annual report on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's activities was sent this week to the UN Secretary-General and the Lebanese Prime Minister. It is now available on the Tribunal's website.

"Our aim is to help the people of Lebanon restore in full the operation of the rule of law in Lebanon, so that they and their families may enjoy the peace and tranquility that is their birthright," STL President Judge Sir David Baragwanath, noted in the report.

The President thanked the Lebanese authorities for their cooperation, but noted that "the eight years which have elapsed since the attacks of which we are seized make more urgent the task of locating and detaining" the accused.

The release of the report marks the start of the second year of the Tribunal's renewed mandate. It details the intensive preparations for trial, including Defence challenges to the Tribunal's legality, the "massive task" of disclosure of evidence, and the postponement of the tentative date for trial.

Over the past year, the Tribunal's judges heard and dismissed challenges to the STL's legality, and upheld the decision to hold a trial in absentia for the 14 February 2005 attack - the first international criminal court to allow such proceedings since the Nuremberg trials.

In July 2012, the Pre-Trial Judge set 25 March 2013 as a tentative date for the start of trial. In January 2013, the Defence teams requested that this date be vacated, for reasons including the incomplete disclosure by the Prosecutor, the size of the Prosecution's case and technical and translation issues. These matters, which could not have been foreseen when the trial date was set, compelled the Pre-Trial Judge to postpone the start date for hearing witnesses, given the "overarching requirement of fairness of trial."

The Office of the Prosecutor said it was focused on preparing for trial as well as reviewing and investigating the three cases connected to the 14 February 2005 attack that are under the Tribunal's jurisdiction.

The report notes that the Office of the Prosecutor will be ready for trial later in 2013. In addition, the Prosecution will create a new team dedicated to examining whether other assassinations can be connected to the 14 February 2005 attack.

Supported by the Defence Office, lead and co-counsel for the four accused worked to understand the Prosecution's case and to prepare their own. Defence lawyers launched preliminary motions that challenged the STL's legality, the decision to try the accused in absentia, the decision defining terrorism and the form of the indictment.

The Tribunal is also close to completing the hand-over of documents to Jamil El Sayyed, one of the four generals arrested in connection with the 14 February 2005 attack and released by the STL for lack of evidence.

"In carrying out its work... the Tribunal gives a voice to the victims of terrorist crimes and furthers the hopes of all Lebanese citizens who aspire to end the vicious circle of violence, crime and impunity that has plagued their beautiful country," the report concluded. "We are determined to show that a fair trial in a complex terrorism case is possible."

.66 - Number of victims participating in proceedings
.120 - Decisions issued by the Pre-Trial Judge in the last year
.557 - Number of witnesses the Prosecution intends to call for trial
.457.5 - Estimated number of hours for Prosecution to present its case
.13,000 - Number of exhibits Prosecution intends to present in trial
.24,932 - Number of pages of official court documents filed
.17,000 - Number of pages of translation delivered
.55.3 million - STL's budget for 2012 in Euros
.59.9 million - STL's budget for 2013 in Euros
.Over 26 - Number of countries that have contributed to the STL
.393 - Total number of STL staff
.54 - Number of Lebanese staff members
.30,000 - Number of files disclosed to the Defence by the Prosecution
.530,000 - Number of pages disclosed to the Defence by the Prosecution

.12 March 2012 - Judge Daniel Nsereko and Prosecutor Norman Farrell sworn in
.16 March 2012 - STL President suspends proceedings to define the crime of "criminal association" after the Pre-Trial Judge rejected the Prosecutor's request to amend the indictment. The Prosecution had requested the addition of a count of "criminal association", a crime under Lebanese law, to the indictment.
.16 April 2012 - Pre-Trial Judge sets deadline for challenging STL's jurisdiction
.10 May 2012 - Defence lawyers for Mustafa Badreddine file a motion challenging the legality of the establishment of the STL
.16 May 2012 - Registrar appoints counsel for victims participating in the trial
.21 May 2012 - Trial Chamber schedules hearing on the STL's jurisdiction
.11 July 2012 - The Trial Chamber rejects motions by the defence counsel for the four accused to suspend or reconsider in absentia proceedings
.11 July 2012 - STL receives Lebanon's contribution to the 2012 budget
.18 July 2012 - Appeals Chamber rejects a Defence request to reconsider its decision defining the crime of terrorism
.19 July 2012 - Pre-Trial Judge sets 25 March 2013 as the tentative date for the start of trial
.30 July 2012 - Trial Chamber confirms the legality and jurisdiction of the Tribunal
.21 September 2012 - John Jones, co-counsel for Mustafa Badreddine and a dual US/UK citizen, is issued a special license to continue representing Mr Badreddine despite US sanctions
.24 October 2012 - Appeals Chamber dismisses Defence challenges to the Tribunal's legality
.1 November 2012 - Appeals Chamber unanimously dismissed challenges by the Defence asking for a review of the decision to begin an in absentia trial
.16 November 2012 - Prosecution files its pre-trial brief
.14 December 2012 - The UN Secretary General appointed Judge Ivana Hrdličková to the Appeals Chamber of the STL, replacing Judge Kjell Erik Björnberg.
.11 January 2013 - Defence counsel file pre-trial briefs
.14 January 2013 - Daryl A. Mundis is appointed Deputy Registrar.
.24 January 2013 - Defence lawyers ask Pre-Trial Judge to postpone trial date
.7 February 2013 - Prosecution files motion seeking amendments to the indictment
.21 February 2013 - Pre-Trial Judge postpones start of trial
.25 February 2013 - STL judges approve changes to the rules of the Tribunal in order to speed up proceedings

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hague underlines UK support for stability in Lebanon

21 Feb 2013
NNA - The British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Lebanon today met top leaders, outlined refugee aid, and pledged £1m to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
The Foreign Secretary said:
"I am also pleased to announce that the UK will be contributing a further £1m ($1.58M) to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2013. This takes our total contribution to £4.3M, and underlines our support for the tribunal, which is working to end impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon. The UK is committed to supporting the search for justice within Lebanon."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PreTrial Judge postpones trial date

Thu 21 Feb 2013
NNA - Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen has postponed the start of trial in the case of Ayyash et al., in a decision issued today, a statement by the Media Advisory of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicated on Thursday.
A new tentative date will soon be set by Judge Fransen, to replace 25 March 2013 as a provisional date for the start of trial. Judge Fransen has asked for submissions from the Prosecution, Defence Counsel and Victims' Representatives by 8 March on their preparedness for trial, after which he will set the new date.
The decision is in response to the Defence Counsel for the four accused in the 14 February 2005 attack asking the Pre-Trial Judge to postpone the trial date.
The Pre-Trial Judge found that certain disclosure obligations had not been met, which the Prosecution recognized. He found that the Prosecution has not yet disclosed the entirety of the material to the Defence, and that the Defence has not yet been able to access certain material disclosed by the Prosecution due to technical issues. In reaching his decision, the Pre-Trial Judge also took note of the ongoing cooperation requests by the Defence made to the Lebanese authorities. Judge Fransen wrote in his decision that all of these issues could not have been foreseen when he set the tentative trial date in July 2012 and also noted the volume of evidence.
Judge Fransen found all these facts to justify the Defence's request to postpone the trial date, which would otherwise not allow Defence Counsel adequate time to prepare for trial and would be in violation of the most basic right of the accused and the principle of fair trial. He further stressed that all participants must adhere to and respect set deadlines.

Monday, January 28, 2013

STL Media Advisory: Herman von Hebel to visit Lebanon this week

NNA - The STL Registrar, Herman von Hebel, will visit Lebanon this week on an official visit.
During his stay, the Registrar will meet with the Prime Minister and other Lebanese officials.
The Registrar will also meet with various representatives of the diplomatic community in Lebanon and will meet with the STL staff in Beirut.
The Registrar is responsible for all aspects of the Tribunal's administration including the budget, fundraising, relations with states and court management. His responsibilities also include oversight of the victim participation unit, witness protection and detention facilities.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

STL defense pushes for trial delay, seeks more cooperation

January 28, 2013
Willow Osgood
BEIRUT: The defense attorneys at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon are requesting to delay the trial of the men indicted in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, describing the current start date as "both unrealistic and unreasonable."
In a motion filed to the court two months before the trial is set to begin on March 25, the attorneys said their request for more time is a result of the prosecution's failure to disclose all relevant documents, as well as the volume and disorganization of the evidence that the defense has received.
"The prosecutor has served [the defense with] some 86,236 documents, 92 percent of which have been served since 13 November 2012," the attorneys said in their motion. "The total volume of documentation served, according to the prosecutor, amounts to approximately 469,000 pages."
The attorneys, who were appointed last February to represent Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra, also cited "continuing non-cooperation of the relevant Lebanese authorities ... and the absence of the accused."
They argued that requests for information have been met with "no cooperation or assistance from Lebanon," making it impossible for them to conduct their own investigations.
As the four members of Hezbollah indicted by the court remain at large – attorneys are not allowed any contact with them – the proceeding are expected to be held in absentia.
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has long denied the party's involvement in the attack that killed Hariri and 21 others, vilifying the STL as an Israeli-American project designed to discredit Hezbollah and sow strife in Lebanese society.
The defense attorneys said that they were unable to propose an alternative date to begin the proceedings without knowing when the prosecution would hand over the remaining evidence, or when authorities would address the defense's requests for cooperation:
"The right of each accused to have adequate time to prepare a defense is being breached and each accused will require considerably more time to prepare his defense once issues of disclosure, cooperation and technical problems are fully resolved."
Last summer, the prosecution said it would be ready for trial at the end of 2012, while the defense attorneys said they would not be prepared until the end of 2013.
Pretrial Judge Daniel Fransen, who last summer set the tentative trial start date of March 25, will hold a public hearing Wednesday to assess the readiness of both sides.
Many analysts had anticipated that trial would be moved back, predicting the defense or the prosecution, whose case is set to include some 557 witnesses and over 13,000 exhibits, would seek additional time.
The move to push back the start date comes after the defense teams made repeated appeals to the prosecution to disclose all necessary information.
Many of the arguments made in the motion were previewed in the defense pretrial briefs filed earlier in the month, when some of the attorneys had argued that the prosecution's pace in turning over documents had left the defense without sufficient time to prepare for the trial.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pre-Trial Judge to hold Status Conference

Leidschendam, 25 January 2013 – The Pre-Trial Judge will hold a hearing on Wednesday 30 January as part of his duties to ensure preparation for trial.
The Status Conference, which will begin at 2:30 PM (Central European time), will be public; however, the Judge might decide to go into closed session during the course of the hearing if confidential matters need to be discussed.
Members of the media can contact the press office for accreditation at stl-pressoffice@un.org.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

STL condemns media reports on alleged witness identities

Leidschendam, 22 January 2013 – The STL condemns the recent media reports claiming to reveal the identities of individuals who may be called to testify before the STL as witnesses.
The Tribunal denounces in the strongest possible terms any attempts at witness intimidation. Publicly identifying individuals as potential STL witnesses may endanger these individuals whether or not they are linked to the Tribunal. Given these security concerns, the STL will not confirm whether the content of the news reports is accurate or not.
Any efforts by individuals or the media to disclose confidential material or to undermine the administration of justice are taken very seriously by the STL's four organs. Persons who disclose confidential information from the STL may be in direct contravention of judicial orders and be subject to judicial proceedings for contempt.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Deputy Registrar appointed

Leidschendam, 14 January 2013 – Daryl Mundis was appointed this week as Deputy Registrar for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He replaces Kaoru Okuizumi, who left the Tribunal in October.
Mr Mundis, from the United States, has extensive background in international criminal justice. He served as Chief of Prosecutions at the STL from 2009 until his appointment as Deputy Registrar.
Prior to joining the STL, he was a Senior Prosecuting Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, where he was the lead prosecutor in a number of cases involving crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. He also served in the Chambers of the ICTY.

Swearing-in ceremony of Judge Ivana Hrdličková

Leidschendam, 14 January 2013 - Judge Ivana Hrdličková, appointed by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, will pronounce her solemn declaration before taking up her duties at a public hearing on Wednesday, 16 January at 4 pm.
Judge Hrdličková holds a PhD from the law faculty of Charles University in Prague and specializes in Islamic Shari'a, with a focus on human rights and Islamic finance in international and Islamic law. Since 2008, she also acts as a legal expert of the Council of Europe in matters related to human rights, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. A short biography of Judge Hrdličková is available on the Special Tribunal's website.
You are cordially invited to attend the swearing-in at a public hearing to be held in the Antonio Cassese Courtroom of the Special Tribunal.
Please, contact the STL Press Office for accreditation.
The hearings will be held in open session and can be followed on the STL website.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Defence counsel file Pre-Trial Briefs

STL Media Advisory
Leidschendam, 11 January 2013 – Defence counsel for the four accused filed their Pre-Trial Briefs this week, challenging the Prosecutor's allegations about the 14 February 2005 attack in Beirut.
The Defence disputes the Prosecution's account of the attack and the alleged involvement of the four accused.
Defence counsel for Assad Hassan Sabra, for example, criticised the Prosecution for what they describe as a failure to disclose documents that will be used in trial. In addition, they noted that Lebanon has not provided a substantial amount of information crucial to the Defence, rendering counsel "effectively unable to conduct meaningful investigations".
The Pre-Trial Brief filed by defence counsel for Mustafa Badreddine is available on the STL website. Defence lawyers for Salim Ayyash and Hussein Oneissi have filed their briefs confidentially. Public redacted versions may follow.
The Prosecution filed its Pre-Trial Brief, the list of witnesses it intends to call at trial, and the list of exhibits it intends to offer into evidence on 15 November 2012.