President with a purpose

11 May 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

In the coming months, the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) expects to begin arresting and putting on trial those responsible for the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

As the STL moves into its next phase the Tribunal's President, Antonio Cassese, continues to publish extensively on issues of international human rights and criminal law.

Cassese, professor of international law at the University of Florence and former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), spoke to the International Justice Tribune (IJT):

What does your role as STL President entail?

Substantially, I would say coordinating the action of the various organs of the Tribunal (Chambers, Office of the Prosecutor, Defence Office, Registry), entertaining contacts with ambassadors of countries interested in the Tribunal or the assistance of which we need to request, and trying to ensure some leadership so as to stimulate all organs to act as professionally, quickly and efficiently as possible.

I think it is also important for the President to demonstrate by his daily action that the Tribunal is fair and intends to dispense justice without paying any attention whatsoever to politics or to pressure from Governments or the media, if any.

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