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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an international criminal tribunal for the prosecution, under Lebanese law, of criminal acts relating to the assassination of Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.



The court was established by an Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic pursuant to Security Council resolution 1664 (2006) of 29 March 2006. The United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations endorsed the agreement on 30 May 2007 (Security Council Resolution 1757 (2007))[1]

The tribunal is mandated to try those suspected of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was murdered, along with 22 others, on 14 February 2005. Several human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch had argued that the tribunal should have been given jurisdiction over 14 other attacks perpetrated in Lebanon since October 1, 2004.[2] And in fact the Tribunal can expand its mandate to include attacks which took place between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005, if they can be shown to have a connection to the 14 February incident. [3]

The tribunal marks the first time that a UN-based international criminal court tries a "terrorist" crime committed against a specific person. [4] According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1664 (2006), it is a "tribunal of an international character based on the highest international standards of criminal justice."

The Special Tribunal is a "hybrid" international court, similar to the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Like the ECCC the STL does not apply international (criminal) law, but rather national law (Article 2 of the Statute of the Special Tribunal). Accordingly, it also is similar to the Section I for War Crimes and Section II for Organized Crime, Economic Crime and Corruption of the Criminal and Appellate Divisions of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina which has such "hybrid" chambers.[5]


The chambers of the tribunal are composed of both Lebanese and international judges with a majority, however, of international judges (Article 8 of the Statute of the Special Tribunal)[6] In September 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon estimated that the tribunal would cost 120 USD million over three years. [7] During the Opening Ceremony for the Tribunal, which was held on March 1, 2009, UN officials indicated that contributions were in hand to cover the estimated costs of the first year (51.4 million USD). The estimated budget for year 2 and 3 was announced as 65 million USD per year.

Ban Ki-Moon appointed Robin Vincent Registrar of the Tribunal on 11 March 2008.[8] On March 24, 2009, Antonio Cassese was appointed the President of the tribunal.[9] Ban Ki-moon appointed David Tolbert registrar on 9 July 2009, to assume the post effective 26 August 2009.[10]

Joyce Tabet assumed the post of Deputy Prosecutor of the Court in November 2009.

A series of successive resignations in early January triggered concerns about the staffing of the tribunal. Vice President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Judge Ralph Riachi, the registrar of the STL David Tolbert, and Chief of Investigation Naguib Kaldas resigned during the first two weeks of January [11] [12] [13].


For reasons of security, administrative efficiency and fairness, the tribunal has its seat outside Lebanon, in Leidschendam in The Netherlands. The premises of the tribunal will be the former Algemene Inlichtingen- en VeiligheidsDienst (AIVD) building.[14]


The tribunal officially opened on 1 March 2009.[15] While an initial 3 year budgetary mandate has been planned, there is no timeline on the judicial work and the tribunal could be operational though 2014 and beyond depending on the scope of the investigation [16].

Geopolitical Aspects

Concerns about political maneuvering by domestic and international entities persisted throughout the establishment of the STL. An early report by Der Spiegel implicated the Lebanese political party Hizbullah in May 2009. The judicial process is complicated by the political aspects of extradition of witnesses [17]. A legal case against 25 Lebanese officials has been leveled in a Syrian courts by one of the persons initially arrested by the tribunal for wrongful imprisonment[18].

Summary of Reports

On the 6th of March, 2010, Antonio Cassese issued his first report on current findings of the tribunal.

See also


  1. ^ "Security Council votes to establish Hariri assassination tribunal". UN News Centre. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  2. ^ Human Rights Watch (2006-05-30). "Establishing the Hariri Tribunal". Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ghattas, Kim (2006-05-21). "Lebanon's groundbreaking tribunal". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  5. ^ "About the Registry". Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  6. ^ Mayer-Cantu, Jerome (2006-04-18). "Lebanon's Experiment with a Hybrid Tribunal". Lebanon Daily Star. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  7. ^ Jansen, Jaime (2007-09-11). "Netherlands invite UN to finalize hosting details for Hariri tribunal". JURIST. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  8. ^ "Ban Ki-moon names top official for Lebanon tribunal". UN News Centre. 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  9. ^ Italian judge Antonio Cassese to head Special Tribunal for Lebanon
  10. ^ "Registry", Website tribunal
  11. ^
  12. ^'s-registrar-quits
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Netherlands Close to Agreeing to Host the Hariri Tribunal". UN Dispatch. 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  15. ^ "Int'l Tribunal on Hariri's murder starts officially in March". People's Daily Online. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  16. ^,1518,626412,00.html
  17. ^
  18. ^

Hanin Ghaddar. NOW Lebanon Tribunal dynamics

External links



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