In Lebanon, justice denied for the other attacks
As the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) trial proceedings inched forward last week on the Rafiq Hariri case, an overarching question remains as to the judicial impact of the hybrid court. Amidst a strong local perception that the STL is doing too little too late, and a context marred by continuing political violence including car bombs, victims of the other attacks are left in the dark.
“Whether the cases are connected or not [to the Hariri case], they must be addressed within a limited timeframe. Today, there is no indictment in any of these cases, which means that the [Lebanese judiciary’s] investigations are either put on hold, behind schedule, or delayed, and in all these cases, this means in effect a denial of justice”, says Nizar Saghieh, founder of the Lebanese research and monitoring organization The Legal Agenda.
The Hariri attack took place amidst some 15 assassinations and attempted assassinations that targeted almost exclusively individuals from the same political side in Lebanon. The STL’s mandate spells that it has jurisdiction over the Hariri case, and all other targeted attacks that took place between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005, if they are “connected” to the main case, by way of criminal intent, purpose, nature of the victims, pattern of the attacks and perpetrators.