‘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.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.