Thursday, April 2, 2009

Progress?

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (Tribunal Spécial pour le Liban) has recently set up shop in the Netherlands (the official opening ceremony was held March 1st, 2009).

From its web site: "The mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is to prosecute persons responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 resulting in the death of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and in the death or injury of other persons. The Tribunal’s jurisdiction could be extended beyond the 14 February 2005 bombing if the Tribunal finds that other attacks that occurred in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 are connected in accordance with the principles of criminal justice and are of a nature and gravity similar to the attack of 14 February 2005. This connection includes but is not limited to a combination of the following elements: criminal intent (motive), the purpose behind the attacks, the nature of the victims targeted, the pattern of the attacks (modus operandi), and the perpetrators. Crimes that occurred after 12 December 2005 can be eligible to be included in the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under the same criteria if it is so decided by the Government of the Lebanese Republic and the United Nations and with the consent of the Security Council."

On March 27th the STL/TSL issued "a request to the Lebanese authorities seized with the case of the attack against Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others (the “Hariri case”) to: 1) defer to the Tribunal’s competence, 2) hand over to the Prosecutor the results of the investigations, and a copy of the relevant court records and other probative material, and 3) submit to the Pre-Trial Judge a list of all persons detained in connection with the investigation” (the “Application”)" within 14 days. See CH/PTJ/2009/01. This seems like rather a formality given that the Prosecutor Daniel Bellmare has been the 3rd head of the International Independent Investigation Commission (following Detlev Mehlis and Serge Brammertz in that role) since January 2008.

Once the STL/TLS receives these materials it will have to decide "within a reasonable time" to either tell the Lebanese authorities to release the detained; or (if it wants the detainee(s) to continue to be held) it must hold a hearing to determine if the Lebanese should continue to hold the detainees or if the detainee should be transferred to the STL/TLS.

Four generals suspected of involvement in the Hariri assassination (February 14th, 2005) have been in custody without charge since August 2005 - Lebanese Armed Forces Intelligence head Raymond Azar, Mustapha Hamdan of the presidential guard, Internal Security Forces Director Ali Hajj, and Jamil al-Sayyed from General Security. If the STL/TSL decides (as is expected) to ask for the continued detention and transfer of these four, one would hope that they would speed things up and give them their day in court. However, the signs are not good, funding is being lined up for the first three years and scuttlebutt is that it may last until 2014 or longer... Guess this is "Guantanamo style."

Some previous blog entries on Lebanon:


UNIIIC progress (?!) - December 18th, 2008
Great quotes... - December 10th, 2008
Damned if you do... - November 18th, 2008
Lebanon - good grief - November 11th, 2008
Taking it back - October 28th, 2008
Litmus test quiz - September 2nd, 2008
Everything takes more time... - August 12th, 2008
At Last (Lebanon)! - July 11th, 2008
Self-examination - profound & shallow - July 7th, 2008
Some poll indicators - June 21st, 2008
Make that President Sleiman - May 25th, 2008
Le Sursis - May 21st, 2008
Lebanon - Doha noise - May 20th, 2008
Bad omen... good omen... - May 11th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon III - May 6th, 2008
Headed back down the toilet? - May 6th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon II - May 2nd, 2008
Needed in Lebanon - April 16th, 2008
Misc updates #3 - April 4th, 2008
Rogue's Gallery II - March 26th, 2008
A Rogue's Gallery - March 2nd, 2008

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