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.

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.

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.

12 June 2012 by -

The first session that carried a relative public appeal, took place at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last Wednesday.

By Lynn Maalouf, Beirut

[related-articles] Legal academics and political analysts have been debating the matter of the STL’s legality for the past five years. The Lebanese have been debating – to put it mildly – the matter of its legitimacy. And yet as this debate enters the courtroom in The Hague, the STL has never appeared to be as further removed from the Lebanese landscape as it does today.

09 October 2006 by -

The commission of inquiry set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council on August 11th to investigate war crimes committed by Israel during the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah released its report on October 4th. It accused both Israel and Hezbollah of violating international law. The report concluded, "serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel. In many instances, it had failed to distinguish between military and civilian objectives...

19 November 2007 by -

On November 13, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon designated Canadian Daniel Bellemare to head the International Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. The assistant deputy attorney general of Canada will replace Belgian Serge Brammertz who took the position in early 2006. This nomination occurs as the new United Nations tribunal for Lebanon is taking shape. This court, which will sit at The Hague, should begin its work in mid-2008.

04 June 2007 by -

On May 30, the UN Security Council voted a resolution creating a special tribunal for Lebanon, with ten yes votes and five abstentions, including China and Russia. Countries in the west decided to impose the creation of the court, which has been under discussion for a year and a half, after the ratification of the agreement signed on February 6 between Beirut and the UN had been blocked for four months in the Lebanese parliament.

25 August 2010 by -

Lebanon’s Hezbollah has handed over information allegedly implicating Israel in the murder of ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri in 2005. It follows a request by the prosecutor of the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Hezbollah official Wafiq Safa gave the dossier to Lebanon’s Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza who forwarded it on to the Beirut office of the tribunal’s prosecutor Daniel Bellemare who is probing Hariri’s killing.