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 B√Ętonniers. 

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."