Special Tribunal for Lebanon

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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: How did it survive for so long?

Reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) would cease to operate past July 2021 have proved somewhat premature. Perhaps, a more appropriate description is that the STL is now on life support. Following significant budgetary cuts, which were recently approved by the STL’s Management Committee, the Tribunal will be able to continue with the Appeal Phase of its first and only case, STL 11-01, until the end of the year. STL 11-01 concerns the 14 February 2005 bomb attack against Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, which killed Hariri and twenty-two others. The trial phase saw three suspects acquitted (another died before proceedings concluded) and the conviction of Salim Jamil Ayyash in absentia. The mid-term future of the STL will involve the Tribunal winding down its activities. The start of the Tribunal’s second case, STL 18-10, relating to three other attacks against politicians in Lebanon connected to Hariri’s assassination, has been cancelled due to insufficient funding, despite having been scheduled to commence on 16 June 2021. The future of…

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Special Tribunal for Lebanon Delivers Interlocutory Decision on Applicable Law

Today the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon delivered an interlocutory decision on several points of applicable law before the Tribunal. It has essentially done so in an advisory fashion, at the request of the pre-trial judge, in order to provide him with adequate guidance with respect to 15 questions of law. In other words, the Appeals Chamber…

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Formation of Custom and the Inherent Powers of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Yesterday the STL Appeals Chamber issued its first substantive decision (h/t Bill Schabas’ blog), penned by Professor Antonio Cassese, who was not only the presiding judge but also the judge rapporteur in the Chamber. The decision delves in great detail into the concept of inherent powers of international courts and tribunals, and is strongly…

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