Bashar al-Assad

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Refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos in September 2015 (Photo: Flickr/Ben White - CAFOD)
08 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Parallel to calls for the establishment of an international tribunal to address alleged war crimes committed in Syria [IJT-169], many European countries say they have stepped up screening procedures to weed out possible war criminals amid the influx of Syrian refugees. The Netherlands, which has been somewhat of a pioneer in this regard, last week announced that in 2015 they denied asylum to 10 Syrian nationals because they are suspected of committing war crimes. But past experience points to a wide gap between identifying potential perpetrators and actually bringing them to justice.

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Images in Beirut commemorating Rafik Hariri, who died ten years ago (Photo: Ana Uzelac)
09 March 2015 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

This month the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) embarked on a newly reissued three-year mandate. Compared to other international courts, its principal task remains narrow: to try those accused of carrying out the 14 February 2005 assassination of ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others in downtown Beirut. But since the Ayyash et al. trial opened in January 2014, expectations of what it might accomplish have soared beyond its headquarters in the Hague suburb of Leidschendam – and beyond Lebanon.

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24 July 2006 by Jerome Mayer-Cantu

At a time when Lebanon is being plunged into crisis, the UN International Independent Investigation Commission which is laying the groundwork for a new hybrid tribunal to try the perpetrators of the bombing attack that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005, has made decisive progress. The statute of the court, its legal system, location and other logistical questions have nearly been finalized, according to Lebanese legal sources.

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STL Courtroom in The Hague
03 December 2014 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

“A sea change” was the phrase repeated by defence teams at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to decry what they saw as a radical, unexpected departure from the prosecution’s case against five Hezbollah members accused of operating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.