Hariri’s death, ten years and 70 victims later at the Lebanon tribunal

11 February 2015 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

On Saturday, Ehsan Fayed will be doing what she often does on 14 February: go to the home of her mother-in-law, gather with the wider family and, along with her two teenage daughters, visit the mosque where her husband is buried. His grave is not far from the shrine of former Lebanese prime minster Rafiq Hariri, the man Talal Nasser spent 23 years working as a bodyguard for and the man he spent his final minutes with when, on 14 February 2005, a bomb in downtown Beirut killed them and 20 others.

STL judges hear the prosecution's opening statement on 16 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/POOL/Flickr/stlebanon)
Image caption: 
STL judges hear the prosecution's opening statement on 16 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/POOL/Flickr/stlebanon)

“Every year we relive the moment,” Fayed tells IJT, “and it’s very hard to live that.” This coming anniversary is harder, she admits, because it demands awareness of how “life changes so much in ten years”. Fayed is a participating victim at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), where, since the Ayyash et al. trial opened 13 months ago, the prosecution has been presenting a case against five men charged with orchestrating the Hariri assassination.

To observers, the STL, its courtroom overwhelmed by black robes, sometimes feels only theoretical. The case’s luminary casualty is dead. All accused are being tried in absentia, their whereabouts unknown. However, the participating victims – a current total of 70, from a list of over 200 court-recognized injured victims – incarnate the very human horrors that prompted Lebanon to request the UN’s establishment of the international tribunal.

Like Fayed, some are the bereaved relatives of Hariri employees. Others lost loved ones, or were themselves innocent bystanders that day, working, driving or jogging near the attack site. 

Want to read more?

We have tailor-made memberships for students, individuals, groups of professionals and large companies and organizations. A subscription entitles you to receive the International Justice Tribune every two weeks as well as become a member of the Justice Tribune Foundation, supporting independent reporting on international justice.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.