Thursday, November 6, 2014

Special Tribunal for Lebanon welcomes the Lebanese contribution for 2014

Leidschendam, 6 November 2014 - The Special Tribunal for Lebanon can confirm that it has received Lebanon's share of the 2014 budget from the Lebanese government.


The full sum of € 29,347,003.50, 49 per cent of the Tribunal's budget, has been transferred to the Tribunal's bank account.


"I welcome Lebanon's contribution and I thank the Lebanese government for fulfilling its international obligation to fund the Tribunal ", STL Registrar Daryl Mundis said.


The Ayyash et al. trial opened before the Trial Chamber on 16 January 2014. To date, 36 witnesses have testified before the tribunal and a total of 461 exhibits have been admitted into evidence.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ayyash et al. trial schedule following the judicial recess

  Leidschendam, 25 August 2014 - Trial in the Ayyash et al. case will resume on Tuesday 26 August following the end of the judicial recess.
The Trial Chamber will continue to hear evidence from the Prosecution, with five witnesses scheduled to testify over the next two weeks. The expected evidence relates to the first chapter of the case concerning the events of 14 February 2005.
Since the trial started on 16 January 2014, the testimony of 22 witnesses has been heard and a total of 319 exhibits have been admitted into evidence.
For more information on scheduled hearings in this case please refer to the courtroom calendar on the STL website and the Prosecution's witness schedule.
For an overview of the Ayyash et al. case please visit our new trial page on the STL website.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Appeals Chamber confirms the date for the resumption of the Ayyash et al. trial

Leidschendam, 5 June 2014 – The Appeals Chamber today rendered a decision confirming 18 June as the date for the resumption of trial in the Ayyash et al. case.
The decision follows an appeal filed by counsel for Mr Merhi on 22 May 2014.
The Appeals Chamber denied three of the four grounds of appeal raised by counsel for Mr Merhi but it upheld, in part, one of Merhi's Defence complaints. The Merhi team had requested to postpone the trial until an expert had reviewed the Prosecution's evidence and prepared a report. The Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber had "abused its discretion when it failed to consider whether counsel for Mr Merhi required the assistance of their expert – at least on the basis of interim reports – for particular witnesses or groups of witnesses that the Prosecutor intends to call in the next part of his case."
The Appeals Chamber Judges instructed the Trial Chamber to assess on a case-by-case basis whether the Merhi Defence can challenge the evidence of certain witnesses without the assistance of an expert.
A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 16 June and trial will resume on 18 June 2014.

Written Decision on the Assignment of Counsel in the Case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Ibrahim Al Amin

Leidschendam, 5 June 2014 – The Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri has today issued a decision providing written reasons for the assignment of counsel in the case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Mr Ibrahim Al Amin (STL-14-06).
The initial appearances of Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Ibrahim Al Amin, which were originally scheduled for 13 May, were rescheduled to 29 May upon the Accused's request. Mr Al Amin, representing both himself and Akhbar Beirut S.A.L., appeared via video-conference. Prior to entering a plea, the Accused read a statement to the court, after which he left the courtroom. Judge Lettieri interpreted Mr Al Amin's statement and his actions as a plea of not-guilty. After consultations with the parties the Contempt Judge ordered the Defence Office to appoint counsel for the Accused.
The decision of the Contempt Judge makes it clear that Mr Al Amin's presence at the initial appearance means that he no longer has the rights that an Accused in an in absentia trial enjoys (see paragraph 13 of the decision).
The Contempt Judge states in his decision that Mr Amin may still participate in person or via video-conference in these proceedings, and appoint counsel of his own choosing to represent him if he so wishes. In this case, the Judge concludes that he "would be ready to reconsider" his decision to order the Head of the Defence Office to appoint counsel on his behalf.
In addition to ordering the assignment of counsel, the decision ordered the Amicus Curiae Prosecutor to initiate disclosure at the earliest opportunity after counsel is assigned and necessary arrangements are made.
The 31 January decision stipulated that publicising the names of protected witnesses – or even alleging such publication – may have serious consequences for the Tribunal's functioning. Today's decision read that "at the centre of these proceedings, which are ancillary to the main case currently before the Trial Chamber, is the Tribunal's ability and duty to protect its witnesses".
All public filings in this case are available at .

Thursday, May 29, 2014


  •  Yesterday, the Secretary-General met with M. François Roux, Head of the Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Secretary-General noted the vital role of the Defence Office in ensuring that the proceedings before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon are fair and credible.
  • The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of the work of the Special Tribunal in tackling impunity for the crimes within its jurisdiction. He expressed his hope that the proceedings would move smoothly and expeditiously.

Friday, May 16, 2014

STL Trial Chamber sets date for restart of trial in Ayyash et al.

Leidschendam, 14 May 2014 - The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has issued an oral ruling setting the date for the resumption of trial as Wednesday 18 June 2014. The decision came during a status conference on 12 May. The Prosecutor's opening statement in the case against Mr. Merhi is scheduled for 18 June. Counsel for Mr. Merhi may then, if they choose, make their own opening statement.

The Trial Chamber will sit on a reduced basis until the judicial recess in July, so as to allow more free time for counsel to prepare their case. The Trial Chamber will re-assess this sitting schedule in July. According to the Special Tribunal's rules, any party wishing to file an interlocutory appeal against this decision can do so within seven days (from 12 May 2014).
During the Trial Chamber status conference in the Ayyash et al. case there was also discussion of Lebanon's cooperation with the STL. On this the Trial Chamber stated that if Lebanon does not have in its possession material requested by the STL, it should communicate this to the Tribunal.

At the status conference, the Prosecution provided an overview of how they will continue the presentation of the first chapter of their case. Co-counsel for Mr Merhi stated that the Merhi case is large and complex and that this has been exacerbated since the case is being held in absentia. They had asked not to resume the proceedings before end of September 2014.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Initial appearances of Accused in the contempt cases - STL Media Advisory

Leidschendam, 7 May 2014 – The Contempt Judge has ordered initial appearances on Tuesday 13 May of the Accused in the case against New TV S.A.L. and Ms Karma Khayat, and of the Accused in the case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Mr Ibrahim Al Amin.

The two journalists and two media organisations were charged with contempt before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice.

The initial appearances of the Accused are scheduled as follows:
New TV S.A.L.: 9:30 AM
Ms Karma Khayat: 10:30 AM
Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.: 2:30 PM
Mr Ibrahim Al Amin: 3:30 PM

As stated by the Contempt Judge in the summons, the Accused may decide either to come to the seat of the Tribunal or to make their initial appearance by video-conference, provided that counsel attends in person.

The hearings will be public, but the judge may decide to go into closed session if confidential matters need to be discussed.

The hearings can be followed live on the STL website in English, French and Arabic.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Media Advisory - STL Trial Chamber to hold a status conference

Leidschendam, 6 May 2014 - The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will hold a status conference on Monday 12 May in the Ayyash et al. case.
The hearing will cover the following items:
(i) Resumption of trial;
(ii) Co-operation of Lebanon with the Special Tribunal; and
(iii) Any other issues.
The status conference, which will begin at 12 PM (Central European Time), will be public; however, the Trial Chamber may decide to go into closed session during the course of the hearing if confidential matters need to be discussed.
The hearing can be followed on the STL website with a 30-minute delay in Arabic, English and French.
Information about media accreditation will follow soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues summons to appear in contempt cases

Leidschendam, 24 April 2014- Two journalists and two media organisations have been charged with contempt before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Karma Mohamed Tahsin al Khayat from Al-Jadeed TV, as well as the station's parent company New TV S.A.L., have been summoned to appear before the STL on two counts of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice. Ibrahim Mohamed Al Amin from Al Akhbar, as well as the newspaper's parent company Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. have been summoned on one count of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice. The accused are being charged under Rule 60 bis (A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and all the charges relate to the Ayyash et al. case.


The charges follow an investigation into three events by an amicus curiae, Stéphane Bourgon, who was appointed by the Registrar on the request of the Contempt Judge, David Baragwanath. Following reports by the amicus, Judge Baragwanath concluded that there was prima facie evidence in two of these events that justify proceedings for contempt. The investigation continues in the third.


New TV S.A.L. and Karma Mohamed Tahsin al Khayat are charged with:


· knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by broadcasting and/or publishing information on purported confidential witnesses.


· knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by failing to remove from Al Jadeed TV's website and Al Jadeed TV's YouTube channel information on purported confidential witnesses.


Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Ibrahim Mohamed Al Amin are charged with:


· knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by publishing information on purported confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. case.


In his decision the Contempt Judge clarified that publishing purported names of witnesses may amount to interference with the administration of justice, because it reduces the confidence of both actual witnesses and the public, in the ability and the will of the Tribunal to protect its witnesses.


Judge Baragwanath has now recused himself from the case and Judge Nicola Lettieri will hear the case. A new amicus curiae will prosecute the Accused (please see press release 'STL Appoints New Amicus Curiae').


In his decision Judge Baragwanath wrote about the vital principles of freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, and the proper administration of justice. Judge Baragwanath stressed that the importance of the press "as the eyes, ears and voice of the community is at its highest when confronted with the power of public decision-makers, such as judges". However the decision went on to stress that like judges, and the rest of the community, the media must comply with the law. "Nothing is more fundamental to the rule of law than that there must be no deliberate interference with the administration of justice". This "leaves intact the ability of the press otherwise to comment on the Tribunal's work, including criticising it".


The accused may choose whether to appear at the court in person or by video-link. The initial appearances of the accused are scheduled for 13 May 2014..

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Media Advisory - Updated Arrest Warrants

Leidschendam, 22 April 2014 - The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has issued new arrest warrants for Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra, following the Prosecution's submission of a consolidated indictment.

This indictment reflects the charges against all of the five Accused as a result of the joinder decision of 25 February 2014.

The Trial Chamber has now requested that the Lebanese authorities act on these new arrest warrants. International arrest warrants will also be provided to Interpol for circulation in other countries.

The charges against the accused remain the same.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Students data to be handed over to STL

April 11, 2014
By Kareem Shaheen
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The names and phone numbers of potentially hundreds of Lebanese students at a local university will be handed over to defense lawyers at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as part of their investigation into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The details of the students were requested as part of the investigation into a key witness who will testify against Hussein Oneissi, one of five suspects in the case and a member of Hezbollah.
Oneissi allegedly helped recruit Ahmad Abu Adass, a man who appeared in what prosecutors say was a false claim of responsibility for the Hariri attack.
Although the college in question was not named, Oneissi first met Abu Adass at Beirut Arab University's mosque, according to public court documents.
In a decision published on the STL website, the court's trial chamber ordered the handover to the defense of the names and phone numbers of students who attended an unidentified Lebanese university between 2004 and 2005.
The details of students in 2006 who were in contact by phone with the key witness are also to be disclosed to the defense as part of the probe.
Defense counsel argued they need the data to investigate the witness and prepare for his cross-examination.
"The trial chamber is satisfied that defense counsel could find investigative leads from contacting students who attended the university at the same time as the witness, and especially those who were in his faculty and, presumably attended classes with him," the judges said in the order.
The STL is tasked with investigating the 2005 Valentine's Day bombing that killed Hariri and 21 other victims and plunged Lebanon into years of political turmoil.
Five members of Hezbollah are wanted by the Hague-based court, which began their trial in absentia on Jan. 16.
The Abu Adass saga is a key point of contention in the Hariri trial. Prosecutors say he met Oneissi when the latter posed as a recent convert to Islam who wanted to learn how to pray, and was duped and abducted by members of the assassination team.
He was then allegedly forced to record a video claiming responsibility for the bombing on behalf of a fictitious fundamentalist group called Nusra and Jihad in Greater Syria.
Defense lawyers, on the other hand, have said that they are investigating the possibility that members of Al-Qaeda could be responsible for the attack.
The order to disclose the student details offers a glimpse into the sheer volume of call data records and details on Lebanese citizens that has been gathered in the course of the Hariri investigation.
For example, the prosecution already has a list of students who attended the unnamed university between 2004 and 2010, a list that includes their contact details.
Defense lawyers, who pledged to uphold codes of professional conduct on data privacy, already have access to all call data and SMS records of the telephone belonging to the witness.
They also have a much more wide-ranging set of call data records all the way to 2010, likely spanning a large percentage of the population.

STL Appoints New Investigator to Deal with Contempt Charges

Leidschendam, 10 April 2014 – The Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daryl Mundis, has appointed Mr Kenneth Scott as the new amicus curiae to deal with the contempt charges currently before the STL.
Mr Scott, a Harvard graduate, has extensive experience in international law, having served as Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for over ten years.
Mr Scott replaces the previous amicus curiae assigned to investigate the 29 April allegations of contempt, Mr Stéphane Bourgon. Mr Bourgon has returned to Montréal Canada before the end of his assignment as amicus curiae after having been appointed as Crown Prosecutor working on organised crime trials.
The core staff of the amicus curiae team will continue to work for the new amicus.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Minister welcomes start of the first trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Jan 16 2013       
Minister for the Middle East Hugh Robertson supports work of Lebanon's Special Tribunal.
Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Commenting on today's launch of the Special Tribunal into the death of former Lebanese PM Hariri, Foreign Office Minister, Hugh Robertson, said:

I welcome the beginning of this important trial. I hope it will help achieve justice for the families of Rafik Hariri, the other victims and for the Lebanese people.

The UK strongly supports the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. I was pleased to announce an additional £1million of UK funding in December, bringing our total contribution to £5.5million since 2009. I was also pleased to see Lebanon fulfil its obligation by making its annual financial contribution to the Tribunal. We continue to call for the arrest of those indicted by the Tribunal. The UK stands firmly behind Lebanese and international efforts to end the culture of impunity.

Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, January 16, 2014)

Lebanon – Opening of the trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
France welcomes the opening today of the trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The tribunal will try the individuals charged with having perpetrated the attack on February 14, 2005, which killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, along with 22 others, and injured many more.
This trial, which has been highly anticipated, notably by the families of the victims as well as the international community, marks a decisive step forward in the fight against impunity for terrorist acts.
France is keen to ensure that the tribunal, established by UNSCR 1757, will be able to complete its mission independently and in an atmosphere of calm.
In the current context of heightened security and following the attacks of the last few months, France supports the Lebanese authorities in their determination to combat all forms of terrorism and their commitment to fighting impunity.

Ayyash et al. case opens at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Leidschendam, 16 January 2014 – The trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al. started today before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon with opening statements by the Prosecutor.

The prosecution's overview of this complex case will be followed by statements from the Legal Representatives of the Victims participating in the proceedings, as well as the Defence counsel for Mr. Badreddine and Mr. Oneissi.

The Ayyash et al. case relates to the 14 February 2005 attack which killed 22 individuals, including the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and injured 226 others. The Accused Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra, are still at large. The proceedings against them are being held in absentia.

The trial will allow 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.
More information on the case can be found in the case information sheets.
Stock shots of the STL building and the STL courtroom can be downloaded here.
Visit our flickr page to download photographs of the STL.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lebanon 'must boost efforts to arrest Hariri assassination accused'

Prosecutor says trial in absentia of five men accused of 2005 bomb attack is only the second-best option
Ian Black, Middle East editor, Friday 10 January 2014 15.52 GMT

Lebanon's government must step up its efforts to arrest five men accused of the assassination of the country's former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, says the prosecutor of the tribunal trying the politically sensational case.

Norman Farrell, a Canadian lawyer, will next week present the opening evidence against five supporters of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Muslim Shia movement, indicted for the murder of Hariri and 21 others in a massive and meticulously planned bomb attack in Beirut on Valentine's Day in 2005.

The long-awaited terrorism trial, being held nearly nine years after the crime, is being held in absentia. It is being prosecuted under a hybrid system of Lebanese and international law, reflecting the chronic weakness of the Beirut government.

"We insist upon their arrest," Farrell told the Guardian in an interview from his office in The Hague. "Despite the fact that we are starting trial we should not lose sight of the fact that we need to continue to intensify efforts to arrest. The trial in absentia is only the second-best option. The evidence will be the focus of the trial. That can't be an excuse or a justification to simply ignore the fact that the accused have not been arrested."

Co-operation with the Lebanese government had been generally satisfactory, Farrell said on Friday.

Hezbollah, an ally of Iran and Syria, has condemned the tribunal as a US-Zionist conspiracy aimed at undermining "the resistance" and pledged to neither recognise nor co-operate with it.

"We are not indicting Hezbollah's position," Farrell said. "We are proceeding against the five accused. Their [Hezbollah's] statements are not matters that affect my decision-making."

The evidence will focus first on the huge explosion – said to have been equivalent to 2,500-3,000kg of TNT that targeted Hariri's motorcade – and then on communications analysis, which the prosecutor described as an important component of the case. The third part would link the accused to the killing.

"The voices of the victims will be heard – and heard in an open international forum," Farrell said. "The trial is a mechanism of accountability and if there is a conviction, of course there will be a sense of some justice. I am not saying that it is perfect justice. But it is some justice."

Elaborate arrangements will be in place to protect witnesses, with some giving evidence in camera, by video link, or using pseudonyms. "I take very seriously any attempt to intimidate or affect the witnesses," Farrell said. "Unlike the accused, the witnesses have had the courage to come forward."

Leaks about the identities of the witnesses were merely allegations and were not a guide to what would actually happen in court.

Other unsolved killings in Lebanon since 2005 have targeted government employees investigating the case and others linked to the pro-western Hariri camp.

On 27 December last year a car bomb in central Beirut killed Mohamad Chatah, a former finance minister and adviser to Saad Hariri, the son of Rafiq and himself a former prime minister.

The remit of the tribunal is limited to crimes committed between 2004 and 2005. That covers 14 cases and some 200 dead and injured. But its mandate could be extended at the request of the Lebanese government and the UN secretary-general to include the murder of Chatah and others, Farrell confirmed.

Political turmoil in the region has accompanied the tribunal from the start. In 2005 the US and western countries seized on the Hariri killing and the mass protests it generated as an opportunity to end Syria's presence in Lebanon. In Damascus, the government of President Bashar al-Assad feared an attempt to isolate Syria. But initial suspicions of Syrian state complicity gave way to a focus on the role of Hezbollah. Its current involvement, fighting on Assad's side in Syria's civil war, has added to sensitivities.

Farrell, a former deputy prosecutor of the Hague tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, pointed out that evidence was heard against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic – accused of atrocities in the Bosnian war – long before they were arrested.

The Lebanon special tribunal, however, is different in one sinister respect from others. "In Rwanda and former Yugoslavia we were mostly investigating things after the fact," he said. "In Lebanon, these tragic events are continuing."

Four accused men appear on one indictment. They are Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra. The prosecution is seeking to join the indictment of a fifth man, Hassan Merhi, accused of helping perpetrate a false claim of responsibility and being one of the leaders of the assassination team. The trial could last for at least a year and longer if that happens, Farrell said.

Aware of its intense political sensitivity, Farrell sought to underline the innovative legal significance of the Hariri case.

"We are working under Lebanese law and directly with the Lebanese authorities," he said. "It is a development in international law but it is more of a hybrid. This is the first international tribunal dealing with terrorism in peacetime. It is the first time there has been an in-absentia trial at the international level [apart from Hitler's secretary Martin Bormann at the Nuremberg trial]. It is setting standards for trials in absentia … and hopefully making a contribution to having an impact on addressing impunity even if the accused are not arrested."