ACTU : Special Tribunal for Lebanon: decision to hold trial in absentia against four men
The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has ruled that it will commence the trial against four men accused of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in their absence.
According to the press release, the STL "is the only international Tribunal that can prosecute accused in their absence" to ensure that justice is not unduly delayed. In its decision to try the accused in absentia, the Trial Chamber reviewed efforts by the Lebanese government to inform the accused of the charges against them and/or to serve them with the indictment, along with the Tribunal's own decision to lift the confidentiality of the original indictment to ensure that the case was widely publicized. According to the Chamber, these measures to inform the accused of the pending charges against them sufficiently satisfy the requirements to commence the trial in absentia.
In June 2011, a partially redacted version of the indictment was made public
in order to broadcast the case against the four suspects. The indictment
alleges a complex and well-planned operation commencing sometime in November
2004 and ending on February 14, 2011. The prosecution asserts that it can link
the four suspects, through documentary evidence and call data records, not only
to specific locations within Lebanon, but also to a larger cell of operatives.
All four indictees are charged
under Articles 2 and 3 of the
Statute for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Lebanese Criminal Code, and
Lebanese Law of 1958with conspiracy aimed at committing a terrorist act.
Two of the indictees are charged with committing a terrorist act by means of an
explosive device, international homicide of Hariri and twenty-one others, and
attempted international homicide of 231 others. Two others, who were in charge
of distributing a false confessional video to major TV networks in order to
divert the investigation, were also charged with being accomplices to the
crimes listed above.
Source : ASIL