Changing attitudes at STL

14 October 2009 by Franck Petit

Appointed to a three-year term by the United Nations Secretary General last March, the French lawyer François Roux will take up his new role as head of the Defence Office at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) at the end of this month. During his 30-year career as an international lawyer, Roux has spent ten years working with international criminal tribunals. 

You will be in charge of the first fully independent defence office at an international tribunal. What does that mean?
It means that for the first time, the international community has realised the importance of putting up a strong defence in face of the prosecution. Until now, the defence has been incorporated into the Registry. Today at the STL, the Defence Office is an organ of the tribunal that has the same standing as the Presidency, the Prosecution and the Registry. We see it as enormous progress.

What are the new roles that the defence will be taking on?
I’m […] going to organise as many training seminars as I can, particularly for lawyers from the Middle East who want to work with the tribunal. Then […] I would like to set up a team of defence lawyers. At a traditional international tribunal, the prosecutor has a permanent team working for him. When the defence lawyers arrive, they are in entirely unfamiliar territory. It will be the role of the Defence Office to give them the chance to quickly get to the same level of understanding as the prosecutor.

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