Friday, August 4, 2017

The Trial Chamber scheduled the presentation of the victims’ case for the week of 28 August 2017

Leidschendam, 02 August 2017 – The Trial Chamber at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has tentatively scheduled the presentation of the victims' case for the week of 28 August 2017 in a Decision on the Legal Representatives of Victims' Application to Call Evidence, Schedule the Presentation of Evidence and Directions on Disclosure Obligations (LRV) filed on Monday 31 July 2017. 
In its decision, the Trial Chamber authorized seven victims and a non-victim witness (Professor Dr Rianne Letschert, a victimologist) to testify in court.The Trial Chamber also deferred deciding whether another non-victim (Dr Fares Souaid) may testify pending receipt of his witness statement or report, granted the LRVs' application to add four witnesses to their witness list, as submitted on 10 May, and authorized the LRVs to submit for admission into evidence statements of 23 witnesses and any documents they may wish. Based on the decision, the LRVs are also authorized to request the admission into evidence of documents supporting proposed agreed facts between the LRVs and the Parties concerning the deaths, injuries and harms suffered as a result of the explosion in Beirut on 14 February 2005.
"The Trial Chamber's decision marks an important milestone for the STL: it will be the first time since the Ayyash et al. trial commenced that we will hear evidence from participating victims in the proceedings and their views on how the 14 February attack has impacted their lives", said Peter Haynes, Legal Representative of Victims (LRV)]. He added that "the testimony would relate to the personal experiences of the victims, various types of harm suffered due to the attack and by extension the collective harm suffered, not just of the individuals who have chosen to participate, but the victims generally, and the wider societal, cultural and economic impact of the events upon the Lebanese people." 
The presentation of the victims' evidence will be interposed before the formal close of the Prosecutor's case.  In an application filed on 3 May 2017, the LRVs estimated that their presentation of evidence would take approximately two weeks of court time.
Seventy-two (72) victims are participating in the Ayyash et al. trial proceedings and are represented by their own dedicated legal team responsible for presenting the victims' views and concerns before the Trial Chamber. 
Background information:
1. On 3 May 2017, the LRVs filed an application seeking to be authorized to present the victims' case. They requested to call 10 viva voce witnesses and to present the evidence of a further 23 witnesses in written form.  The LRVs intend to call non-victim witnesses to provide observations on the suffering of victims. These witnesses are Professor Dr Rianne Letschert, a victimologist and Dr Fares Souaid, a medical surgeon, political observer and former Lebanese Member of Parliament who may—if authorised by the Trial Chamber—testify about the political background and the chain of events that preceded and followed the assassination of Rafik Hariri. In addition, the witness will speak, as a physician, about the humanitarian and psychological problems and pain of the victims.
2. At the commencement of the trial in the Prosecutor vs. Ayyash et al. on 17 January 2014, the Legal Representatives of Victims made their opening statements. The video records are available here