STL holds hearing on defining terrorism crimes


The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) reported on its website that its Appeals Chamber judges will publicly announce on Wednesday their ruling on legal questions raised in the chamber’s Monday hearing.

“The Appeals Chamber hearing to examine questions relating to the interpretation of the law applicable before the STL has come to an end. The Judges will now deliberate and are expected to announce their ruling in a public session on Wednesday, 16 February 2011. The STL press office will email details about accreditation for that hearing in the coming days.”

The hearing has been concluded and the judges will conduct their deliberations before Wednesday’s announcement, the statement said.

The purpose of the hearing on Monday was how to define the crime of terrorism as listed in the draft indictment which was submitted by prosecutor Daniel Bellemare and which remains confidential.

“Today’s proceedings show that Lebanon, a proud founding member of the United Nations, is set for a course of judicial accountability through the rule of law,” presiding judge Antonio Cassese said as the hearing opened before the STL.

“This hearing signals an important moment for the life of the tribunal.” He said

Cassese said that pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen had submitted 15 legal questions for the appeals chamber to clarify related to the indictment .

Fransen is tasked with confirming the indictment before any arrest warrants can be issued for the bombing that killed Hariri and 22 other people in Beirut.

Among other things, he had asked the judges to decide how the crimes of terrorism, conspiracy and premeditated murder should be defined, and under which law — Lebanese or international or both.

Cassese said Monday’s proceedings would help ensure a speedy trial, a prerequisite for fairness.

“Suspicions may have fallen on many,” he said. “It is hence of vital importance that any person named in the indictment should know what charges they face.”

“It is in the interests of Lebanon as a whole and world community at large that this process should move forward deliberately and expeditiously.”

Cassese stressed that the hearing was of legal nature and would not deal with the facts of the case, but would allow the court to thrash out “a set of legal imperatives to deal with human tragedies.”

“We will also have to discuss how the world community responds to one of the most widespread crimes of today, terrorism.” He said

Bellemare said during the hearing that there are no gaps in the Lebanese law’s definition of terrorism so that to resort to international law.

No one really knows what the contents of the STL indictments will be like , but the leader of the Iranian backed Hezbollah , Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah admitted in his speech on Thursday July 22 that some of his party members would be named in the tribunal’s formal charges but stressed that he will reject the indictments.


STL also published the following with regards to former General Jamil’s Sayed’s request to access STL documents :

This order relates to Mr El Sayed’s request for access to documents, which he believes are in the possession of the Office of the Prosecutor at the STL. With this order, the Pre-Trial Judge is inviting the Prosecutor to provide reasons why individual documents or groups of documents in his possession and which were allegedly in support of Mr El Sayed’s detention in Lebanon, should not be provided to Mr El Sayed. This is based on restrictions that the Pre-Trial Judge identified in his 17th September order.

STL website went on to say:

“The Prosecutor will now have to provide the Pre-Trial Judge with reasons why the release of these documents could for instance cause prejudice to the investigation or could put the lives of people at risk.”

“Any disclosure of information to the Pre-Trial Judge would be confidential and (only the Prosecutor and the Pre-Trial Judge would see the information at this stage).

According to STL this order does not relate to the submission of an indictment to the Pre-Trial Judge by the Prosecutor.

The tribunal was established to try the killers of Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated on Valentine’s Day in 2005.



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