Lebanon

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Al Jadeed journalist Karma Khayat flanked by defence lawyers at the opening hearing of her contempt trial (Photo: Flickr/STLebanon)
04 May 2015

IJT 181 examines what two contempt cases at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon show about the main in absentia trial seeking to uncover who killed Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri.

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Karma Khayat flanked by defence lawyers at the opening hearing of her contempt trial
04 May 2015 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last month began hearing one of two contempt cases. Each charges a Lebanese media company [IJT-167] and a senior journalist with having “knowingly and wilfully interfered with the administration of justice” by publicizing information about purported confidential witnesses in the main Ayyash et al. case.

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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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STL judges hear the prosecution's opening statement on 16 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/POOL/Flickr/stlebanon)
11 February 2015 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

On Saturday, Ehsan Fayed will be doing what she often does on 14 February: go to the home of her mother-in-law, gather with the wider family and, along with her two teenage daughters, visit the mosque where her husband is buried. His grave is not far from the shrine of former Lebanese prime minster Rafiq Hariri, the man Talal Nasser spent 23 years working as a bodyguard for and the man he spent his final minutes with when, on 14 February 2005, a bomb in downtown Beirut killed them and 20 others.

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11 June 2014 by Lynn Maalouf, Beirut (Lebanon)

The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will re-open its trial next week for a few days, with a new element: Hassan Habib Merhi. He is the fifth in absentia suspect in one of the most dramatic political assassinations to take place in the region, which killed 22 people including Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri . But to those in Lebanon who have been eyeing with growing wariness the long-awaited start of the trials, this late indictment has been received with some frustration.

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25 June 2014 by Lynn Maalouf, Beirut (Lebanon)

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.

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25 June 2014 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The prosecution presented last week their case against a fifth in absentia accused, Hassan Merhi [IJT-161], who has been joined to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) trial for the bomb attack that killed prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. But despite copious evidence from the examination of a variety of mobile phones, the prosecution has still presented no clear motive behind the attack.

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STL Courtroom in The Hague. Copyright STL-TSL/Flickr
08 October 2014 by Karina Hof, The Hague (The Netherlands)

While prosecution witnesses continue to give technical forensic testimonies in the trial against five men suspected of orchestrating the 2005 explosion that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, two contempt cases at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) vie for the spotlight.

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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.

issue
11 June 2014

Links to articles and PDF of IJT 161.

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