United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Herman von Hebel to the post of Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the STL said in a statement on Friday.
“Mr. von Hebel was previously the acting Registrar for the STL, the Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and a senior legal officer for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,” said the statement.
“My appointment comes at a very important time for the STL”, said Herman von Hebel. “The tribunal is moving from a predominantly investigative phase towards judicial proceedings, and during this period the Registry will be critical to ensure the smooth running of the court.”
Von Hebel will be the tribunal’s chief executive, overseeing budget, fund raising, relations with states, court management, and oversight of the victim participation unit, witness protection, and detention facilities, according to the statement.
Since March 2010, von Hebel served as the acting Registrar for the STL.
He was also instrumental in the negotiations of the Rome Statute, which led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was created by the United Nations Security Council, at the request of the Government of Lebanon in 2007. The STL started its work on March 1st 2009 and there are currently 333 members of staff from 62 countries.
Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, the Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.
Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife.
The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported earlier in the month that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said on November 18 that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.
On Tuesday a leading Israeli Military Intelligence official expressed concerns that Hezbollah might seize control of Lebanese government institutions .
“Dozens will be killed when Hezbollah uses force and takes over government institutions,” senior Military Intelligence official Colonel Yossi Adler told the Knesset in ‘a possible scenario if Hezbollah is indicted by STL.’