‘Indictment deters future crimes’

02 February 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was set up in March 2009 to bring to justice those responsible for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. Last month, amidst political turmoil in Lebanon following the fall of the government led by Hariri’s son Saad, the tribunal came out with its first indictment. A conversation with STL Registrar Herman von Hebel.

What can you tell us about the indictment?
The indictment is against one person or more. We do not know exactly who these people are, or how many of them there are. The indictment is sent to pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen, who will scrutinise whether the supporting material forms enough of a basis to start a trial.

We expect the pre-trial judge to take between six to ten weeks to reach a conclusion. Once that happens, we will continue with preparations for the trial. We hope that we will be able to start with trials in September or October.

Why is the indictment sealed?
This has to do with the suspects’ legal protection. Once the judge confirms the indictment, this may lead to an arrest warrant. The names can be divulged at that time, but the judge could also decide to wait with the disclosure until the arrests have actually taken place.

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