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A selection of frequently asked questions about the work of the STL
Introduction to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
A selection of Frequently Asked Questions about the Work of the STL
What is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon? ���������������������������������������������������� 5 Is the STL a UN institution? What is the relationship between the UN and the STL? ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Why is the tribunal based in the Netherlands and not in Lebanon? ������������� 6 Does Lebanon have a duty to cooperate with the Tribunal? ������������������������� 6 What is the Management Committee? ��������������������������������������������������������� 7 How is the STL financed?������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 What is the STL budget? �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 How will the Tribunal benefit the people of Lebanon? �������������������������������� 8 What are the guarantees that the STL will be fair and independent? ����������� 8 What was the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) and what happened to it? ������������������������������������������� 9 What happened to the evidence collected by the UNIIIC? ��������������������������� 9 What is the structure of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon? �������������������������� 9 What is the role of Chambers? ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 9 How are the Judges of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon appointed? ��������� 10 Can the Government of Lebanon withdraw the Lebanese Judges and staff? ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 10 What is the role of the President?��������������������������������������������������������������� 11 What is the role of the Pre-Trial Judge? ������������������������������������������������������ 11 What do the Judges of the Trial Chamber do? �������������������������������������������� 12 What do the Judges of the Appeals Chamber do? �������������������������������������� 13 What is the role of the Office of the Prosecutor? ��������������������������������������� 13 What is the role of the Defence Office? ������������������������������������������������������ 14 What is a defence team? ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 How are defence counsel selected at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon? ��� 15
What is the difference between the appointment and the assignment of counsel? ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 What is the role of the Registry? ����������������������������������������������������������������� 16 What are the official languages of the Tribunal?����������������������������������������� 17 Will all information be available in all three languages of the Tribunal?����� 17 What crimes will be investigated? ��������������������������������������������������������������� 18 Who decides who will be put on trial? �������������������������������������������������������� 18 Can a state or group or political party be tried before the STL?������������������ 19 Can non-Lebanese persons be put on trial? ������������������������������������������������ 19 What is an indictment? ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 What happens once an indictment is filed? ������������������������������������������������ 20 When is an indictment made public? ���������������������������������������������������������� 21 How long does it take for the Pre-Trial Judge to make a ruling on an indictment? ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 22 Does confirmation of an indictment signal the end of the investigation? �� 22 Can an indictment be amended? ���������������������������������������������������������������� 23 What happens after an indictment is confirmed? ��������������������������������������� 23 What is the difference between a suspect and an accused?����������������������� 24 What is a trial in absentia? �������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 When will the trial start? ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 25 What is an initial appearance of the accused? �������������������������������������������� 26 What is a guilty plea? ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 What is a plea agreement?�������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 How are the proceedings conducted? �������������������������������������������������������� 28 How are the appeal proceedings conducted? ��������������������������������������������� 32 What evidence can be used at trial? ����������������������������������������������������������� 32 Do the STL Rules of Procedure and Evidence allow anonymous witnesses to testify? ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 34
Who can be called as a witness? ����������������������������������������������������������������� 34 What happens to a witness who gives false testimony? ����������������������������� 35 Can victims participate in the trial? ������������������������������������������������������������ 35 How can victims participate in the proceedings? ���������������������������������������� 36 What protection and support can the Tribunal give its victims and witnesses? ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 37 What are the rights of the accused? ����������������������������������������������������������� 38 What sentence will the accused receive if found guilty? ���������������������������� 39 Where will the trials take place? ����������������������������������������������������������������� 40 How long will the trials take? ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 40 Will the trials be public? Who can attend the trials? ���������������������������������� 40 If I can’t go to see the trials, how will I know what is happening? �������������� 41 Can one obtain all information on filings or trial proceedings? ������������������ 41
What is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL or Tribunal) is a mixed or hybrid criminal court – this means that it has both international and domestic features� The STL was created by the United Nations and Lebanon� It was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1757(2007) implementing the Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic on the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon� Its primary mandate is to hold trials of individuals accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which resulted in the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and in the death or injury of other persons� The STL also has jurisdiction over: • Attacks carried out in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 if they are connected with the 14 February 2005 attack and are of a similar nature and gravity; and • Attacks carried out in Lebanon after 12 December 2005 if they are connected with the attack carried out on 14 February 2005 and are of a similar nature and gravity, and if the Government of Lebanon and the UN, with the consent of the Security Council, agree to extend the STL’s jurisdiction� The STL is composed of both Lebanese and international Judges and staff, and it applies the provisions of the Lebanese Criminal Code to the crimes within its jurisdiction, including acts of terrorism and crimes and offences against life and personal integrity� The STL is the first international tribunal to have jurisdiction over the crime of terrorism in times of peace�
Is the STL a UN institution? What is the relationship between the UN and the STL?
No, the STL is not a UN institution� The STL is an independent international judicial organisation� It was created following a request by the Government of Lebanon to the UN for assistance in establishing ‘a tribunal of an international character’ to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of the attack of 14 February 2005 against Rafiq Hariri and others�
At the same time, the STL has strong links with the United Nations� The UN is an ex officio member of the Tribunal’s Management Committee and the STL Registrar is a UN staff member� The UN, through its Secretary-General, appoints the Tribunal’s principals and Judges�
Why is the tribunal based in the Netherlands and not in Lebanon?
The Government of Lebanon and the UN Security Council agreed that the Tribunal should be located outside Lebanon� This was guided by considerations such as fairness and justice, administrative efficiency and security� The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the home of the Tribunal and the seat of a number of international courts� The STL also has an office in Beirut that supports the Tribunal’s operations, with representatives of all four organs� Tribunal staff in the Beirut office also liaise with officials in Lebanon� The Tribunal’s liaison officer in New York coordinates with representatives of the United Nations, the Management Committee and other members of the diplomatic community� Outreach to the Lebanese people is conducted from Beirut� Recent outreach activities have included seminars with and lectures to representatives of nongovernmental organisations, judges, lawyers, and academics� The Tribunal also stays connected to the Lebanese people by providing comprehensive information about its work through its website, social media (such as Twitter and Scribd), the translation of court documents, and the broadcast of judicial proceedings on the website (including in Arabic)�
Does Lebanon have a duty to cooperate with the Tribunal?
Yes� Article 15 of the Annex to Security Council Resolution 1757 (2007) provides that the Lebanese authorities have a duty to cooperate with the STL and must comply without delay with requests for assistance or with orders issued by the STL� Because the Annex entered into force pursuant to a Security Council Resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, its terms are binding on Lebanon� The duty to cooperate is also enshrined in the STL Rules of Procedure and Evidence, as well as in the Memorandum of Understanding concerning the STL Office in Lebanon, the Memorandum of
Understanding between Lebanon and the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Memorandum of Understanding between Lebanon and the Defence Office�
What is the Management Committee?
The Management Committee is a group of representatives of the following significant donors to the STL: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (chair) and the United States� The UN Secretary-General, or his representative, is an ex officio member� The Management Committee was established by Article 6 of the Annex to Security Council Resolution 1757 (2007) and oversees the non-judicial aspects of the STL’s operations� It provides external management oversight dealing with issues such as review and approval of the STL’s budget, fundraising and encouraging all States to cooperate with the STL� It plays no role in the judicial proceedings�
How is the STL financed?
Fifty one per cent of the STL’s funding comes from voluntary contributions by UN Member States, while the Lebanese Government is responsible for the remaining 49 percent� The STL is not a UN institution and is not funded from the regular UN budget� The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council may explore alternate means of funding if voluntary contributions are insufficient� The Tribunal has been able to secure sufficient voluntary contributions for each of its operational years and has received contributions from 26 states over 5 continents� It is also confident that Lebanon will continue to contribute its share of the budget, as it has done so every year since the Tribunal’s establishment�
What is the STL budget?
The annual budget of the STL was 51�4 million USD for 2009, 55�4 million USD for 2010 and 65�7 million USD for 2011� The budget for 2012 is 55�3 million EUR� The budget summaries are public and can be found on the Tribunal’s website at www�stl-tsl�org�
How will the Tribunal benefit the people of Lebanon?
To uphold justice, the Lebanese government requested help from the United Nations to create a tribunal to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005, as well as other attacks� Bringing the perpetrators to justice is essential to building a peaceful society based on the rule of law, as well as to promoting accountability� Respect for the rule of law by governments strengthens judicial institutions� Justice in Lebanon and around the world requires that criminals face the legal consequences of their actions�
What are the guarantees that the STL will be fair and independent?
The Tribunal’s Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence include binding legal provisions that guarantee its independence and the fairness of the proceedings� Independence is ensured in a variety of ways� The Statute requires that the Judges and the Prosecutor be independent in the performance of their functions and that they shall not accept or seek instructions from any government or any other source� The STL is also the first international tribunal to have a Defence Office as an independent organ, which has the duty to protect the rights of the defence and to ensure equality of arms� A rigorous selection process ensures that Judges, principals and staff have the highest standards of integrity and professionalism� The fairness of the court proceedings is safeguarded through the Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence� The Rules protect the rights of all suspects and accused throughout the proceedings, from the investigation phase to the conclusion of trials� They also protect victims and witnesses who appear in court� The Statute and Rules, as well as other binding legal instruments, are applied by the entire Tribunal� In addition the STL President is required to produce an annual report about the activities of the Tribunal, which is provided to the UN Secretary-General and the Government of Lebanon� These reports help to ensure transparency and allow for public scrutiny of the tribunal’s work� They are available on the Tribunal’s website�
What was the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) and what happened to it?
The United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1595 in April 2005 and should not be confused with the STL� The UNIIIC was a separate body which, unlike the Tribunal itself, had no role in prosecutions or trials but was limited to assisting the Lebanese authorities in conducting investigations into the 14 February 2005 attack and other attacks� The UNIIIC’s mandate ended on 28 February 2009� The information it had gathered was handed over to the STL Prosecutor�
What happened to the evidence collected by the UNIIIC?
The evidence collected by the UNIIIC was transferred directly to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the STL in April 2009, soon after the commencement of the Tribunal’s operations� During trial, the Prosecution will have an opportunity to present evidence (including any evidence received from UNIIIC), and the Judges of the Special Tribunal will decide on its admissibility and weight�
What is the structure of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?
In accordance with its Statute, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon consists of four independent organs: Chambers (the STL’s judicial organ); the Office of the Prosecutor; the Registry; and the Defence Office� The STL is the first international tribunal to have a Defence Office as a separate organ, equal to the other three� This gives additional safeguards for the accused�
What is the role of Chambers?
As the Special Tribunal’s judicial organ, Chambers consists of the Tribunal’s Judges and their legal and administrative staff� It is responsible for adjudicating matters that are before the court and for ensuring the fair administration of justice� Chambers also has managerial and regulatory functions; for example, the Judges are responsible for adopting and amending the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Tribunal’s equivalent of the law on criminal procedure�
Such functions are common to all the other ad hoc and hybrid international tribunals and courts, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone� Chambers consists of 11 Judges in three distinct sections - one international Pre-Trial Judge, a Trial Chamber of three Judges (one Lebanese and two international, plus two alternate Judges, one Lebanese and one international), and an Appeals Chamber of five Judges (two Lebanese and three international)�
How are the Judges of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon appointed?
In accordance with the Statute of the Special Tribunal, all Judges must be persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity, with extensive judicial experience� The Lebanese Judges are appointed by the UN SecretaryGeneral from a list of 12 names proposed by the Lebanese Supreme Council of the Judiciary and presented by the Lebanese Government� International Judges are nominated by States and competent persons� All the appointments were made upon the recommendation of a selection panel, made up of two Judges currently sitting on or retired from an international tribunal, and a representative of the UN Secretary-General� The biographies of the Judges can be found on the Tribunal’s website at www�stl-tsl�org�
Can the Government of Lebanon withdraw the Lebanese Judges and staff?
No� The Lebanese Judges were not appointed by the Government of Lebanon but by the United Nations Secretary-General� STL staff who come from Lebanon are recruited on the basis of a competitive process� This process entails completing an application, submitting it within the indicated deadline, and participating in at least one telephone or inperson interview with a selection panel� STL staff are employed by the STL and cannot be withdrawn by Lebanon�
What is the role of the President?
The President represents the Tribunal as a whole and is responsible for its effective functioning and the good administration of justice� The responsibilities of the President include overseeing the activities of the Registry; supervising the conditions of detention; representing the Tribunal in international relations; promoting and negotiating agreements on cooperation with States; presiding over all plenary meetings of the Tribunal’s Judges; and submitting the Tribunal’s annual report to the UN SecretaryGeneral and the Government of Lebanon� The Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber is the President of the Tribunal� He is elected by a majority of the votes of the Judges comprising the Appeals Chamber for a term of one year and a half, or shorter depending on the duration of his term of office as a Judge� He may be re-elected�
What is the role of the Pre-Trial Judge?
The Pre-Trial Judge has an important and unique role� He is entrusted with reviewing indictments and preparing cases for trial� He is not a member of the Trial Chamber, but rather a separate and autonomous Judge, who cannot sit on the trial bench� This is one of the novelties enshrined in the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon� The STL Pre-Trial Judge is free to deal with evidentiary material submitted by the parties and may take a more active role during the initial stages of proceedings� This position, however, is not the same as that of the Lebanese investigating Judge (juge d’instruction)� The STL Pre-Trial Judge will evaluate the charges brought by the Prosecutor so as to confirm or dismiss an indictment� He may collect evidence in two situations – at the request of a party or a victim participating in the proceedings or on his own initiative� In the first situation, when submitting such a request to the Pre-Trial Judge, the requesting party must demonstrate that it is not in a position to collect the evidence, and the Pre-Trial Judge will act if he considers that it would be in the interests of justice to do so� Evidence collected in this manner must still be presented in court by a party or a victim participating in the proceedings, and the participants in the trial remain free not to do so�
The Pre-Trial Judge can also act on his own initiative when a party or a victim participating in the proceedings is unable to collect an important piece of evidence, either inculpatory or exculpatory, and the Pre-Trial Judge finds that it is indispensable to the fair administration of justice, the equality of arms and the search for truth� Any evidence collected in such a manner will be brought to the notice of both parties and the victims participating in the proceedings and will form part of the file to be later submitted to the Trial Chamber� Both parties can appeal such a decision of the Pre-Trial Judge, and the appeal will be handled on an expedited basis� Other duties and powers of the Pre-Trial Judge include: submitting to the Appeals Chamber any preliminary question on the applicable law necessary to rule on indictments; facilitating communication between the parties; issuing summonses, warrants for arrest and other orders that may be necessary; placing a suspect or accused in detention or ordering his/her provisional release; authorising victims to participate in the proceedings; coordinating communications between the parties during the pre-trial phase; under certain circumstances, questioning anonymous witnesses; drawing up a complete file for the Trial Chamber which lists the main differences between the parties on points of law and fact and his assessment of their significance; and generally taking any measures necessary to prepare the case for a fair and expeditious trial� The Pre-Trial Judge may also render judgments in cases of alleged false testimony, or other forms of contempt or obstruction of justice, in proceedings before him�
What do the Judges of the Trial Chamber do?
The primary role of the trial Judges is to hear and assess the evidence presented by the Prosecutor, the Defence and, if allowed by the Trial Chamber, the victims participating in the proceedings before the Tribunal� The Judges are responsible for ensuring that trial proceedings are conducted efficiently and fairly, with the ultimate aim of establishing the truth� In accordance with the STL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Judges play an active role during trial – for example, they may question witnesses, control the length of examinations-in-chief and cross-examinations and summon to court additional witnesses�
At the end of the proceedings, the trial Judges determine the guilt or innocence of each accused� Should they find an accused guilty, they will agree upon the sentence to be imposed�
What do the Judges of the Appeals Chamber do?
Both the Prosecution and Defence have the right to appeal the Trial Chamber’s judgment and/or sentence� The Appeals Judges will rule on errors on questions of law which invalidate the Trial Chamber’s decision, or errors of fact that have occasioned a miscarriage of justice� They may affirm, reverse or revise the judgment and/or sentence, or order that an accused by re-tried (if that is in the interests of justice)�
What is the role of the Office of the Prosecutor?
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is responsible for investigating and prosecuting the persons responsible for the crimes falling within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction� The OTP is led by an international Prosecutor who is assisted by a Lebanese Deputy Prosecutor� The Prosecutor was appointed by the UN SecretaryGeneral upon consultation with the UN Security Council and the Government of Lebanon� The Prosecutor carries out his functions not solely in his capacity as a party to the proceedings, but also as a judicial organ and guarantor of the public interest that he represents� He acts independently, without seeking or receiving instructions from any source� The Prosecutor’s decisions are guided by the STL Statute, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, internationally recognized legal standards and the evidence� In that spirit, the Prosecutor is responsible for both the investigative and prosecution functions� The OTP staff includes lawyers, police officers, forensic experts and analysts from more than 35 different countries� The OTP is organised on the basis of multi-disciplinary teams and operates from offices in Leidschendam, The Netherlands, and Beirut, Lebanon�
What is the role of the Defence Office?
The primary role of the Defence Office is to promote the rights of suspects and accused in the proceedings before the Special Tribunal� Its creation particularly aims to ensure the respect for “equality of arms” before the Tribunal� Equality of arms means that the Prosecution and the Defence each must have a reasonable opportunity to present its own case and in conditions that do not place them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the opponent� The STL is the first international tribunal to have a Defence Office as an independent organ with the necessary statutory and regulatory powers to protect the rights of suspects and accused� This helps to ensure the highest standards of fairness in the proceedings before the Special Tribunal� The Defence Office has wide-ranging powers in respect of: • the recruitment and assignment of competent and experienced lawyers for indigent suspects or accused, as well as of persons assisting counsel, such as investigators, case-managers and legal assistants; • confirming the appointment of counsel who are directly paid for by the accused • providing logistical and operational support to defence counsel; • providing legal advice to defence counsel; • preparing and concluding cooperation agreements with States and international organisations to assist with the defence of suspects and accused before the Tribunal; and • monitoring the effectiveness of the representation provided by Defence counsel� The Defence Office also has the power to make submissions before the Judges on matters relating to the fairness of the proceedings and the rights of the accused� It is important to note that the Head of the Defence Office and his staff cannot take any instructions from or represent any suspect or accused� This is so that the Defence Office preserves its independence and neutrality towards all suspects, accused and their counsel, and to avoid any conflict of interest�
What is a defence team?
A defence team is the team of persons that works on the preparation and presentation of the defence for a particular suspect or accused� A defence team varies in size depending on the nature of the case and the stage of the court proceedings� A team may be comprised of lead and cocounsel and one or more investigators, legal officers, case managers and language assistants� The lead counsel is responsible for the selection of any team members and may also be held responsible for their actions�
How are defence counsel selected at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?
Suspects and accused who are paying for their own defence are entitled to choose their own counsel� Such privately retained counsel will be formally appointed to represent a client by the Head of Defence Office� The Head of the Defence Office will verify that the client has given a “power of attorney” to the counsel, and whether the counsel meets the criteria to practice before the tribunal� These criteria are outlined in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and include for example being admitted to the Bar in a national jurisdiction and good knowledge of English or French� A suspect or accused may also ask the Tribunal for legal aid� A request for legal aid is reviewed in order to establish that a suspect or accused does not have the financial means to pay for counsel� When such a request is granted, he or she may then freely select a counsel from the list of counsel� In such a case, the Tribunal will pay for the cost of the counsel and the defence team� The list of counsel is composed by an Admission Panel, who reviews the qualification requirements� These requirements are outlined in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and include requirements such as a minimum of ten years of experience of legal practice in the area of criminal law either in a national system or before international courts involving highly complex cases� If an accused is tried in absentia, the Head of Defence Office not only appoints but also selects the counsel from the same list�
When an accused first appears before the Tribunal, he or she will be assigned a counsel for the initial appearance, unless the accused indicates that he wants to be self-represented� The first assignment of counsel is a temporary assignment to ensure that, from the moment the accused appears before the Tribunal, his or her right to counsel is guaranteed�
What is the difference between the appointment and the assignment of counsel?
An appointment of Defence counsel means that the Head of the Defence Office has confirmed that a counsel has been privately retained by a client and that the counsel in question meets the requirements of Rule 58(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence� An assignment of counsel means that the accused lacks the means to pay for counsel and has requested legal aid� The accused selects a counsel of his own choosing from the list of counsel� The Head of Defence Office assigns this counsel to represent the accused�
What is the role of the Registry?
The Registry can be seen as the Tribunal’s “engine room” for many external and internal functions – it is responsible for the good administration and servicing of the tribunal� It is led by the Registrar, who is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, is a UN staff member and has a wide range of responsibilities� The Registrar prepares the Tribunal’s budget and plays a crucial role in securing the necessary funds� He also has an external liaison and diplomatic function with Lebanon, as well as donor states, the Management Committee, UN Member States, the Netherlands (as the host country), other international courts and non-governmental organisations� Through its Public Affairs and Outreach sections, the Registry also serves as the Tribunal’s channel of communication with the general public� While the Public Affairs section focuses on international and Lebanese media and is responsible for the timely dissemination of information about the work of the STL, the role of Outreach is to increase understanding of the Tribunal’s work, especially among the Lebanese population by interacting with legal professionals, NGO representatives, academics, students and others�
Though the judicial process is under the control of Chambers, it is the Registry’s responsibility to ensure that the process unfolds smoothly and efficiently, by providing support to Chambers and all parties participating in the proceedings� In addition, the Registrar oversees the Victims and Witnesses Unit, which provides support to all those testifying before the STL; the Victim Participation Unit, which assists in the participation of victims in the proceedings; the Court Management Services Section, which serves as the custodian of the court records and archives of the Tribunal, and the Language Services Section, which provides interpretation and translation services in the Tribunal’s three official languages – Arabic, French and English� The Registrar also oversees the Safety and Security Section, which is in charge of securing the Tribunal’s premises both in Leidschendam and in Beirut, as well as the Detention Facility of the Tribunal in the Netherlands, which will house in-custody accused persons transferred to The Hague� The Registry is also responsible for the overall administration of the Tribunal which includes human resources, finance, procurement, information technology and general services�
What are the official languages of the Tribunal?
The STL’s official languages are Arabic, French and English� As early in the proceedings as possible, the Pre-Trial Judge or the Trial or Appeals Chamber will decide which language(s) will be used as the working language in a particular case� The Judges will do so upon consultation with the parties, as well as the legal representatives of victims participating in the proceedings� However, an accused shall always have the right to use his own language during proceedings�
Will all information be available in all three languages of the Tribunal?
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon makes every effort to provide all relevant public information in the three official languages� However, that may not always be possible due to the large number of documents generally generated during complex criminal trials before an international court�
Nevertheless, participants in the courtroom proceedings before the STL can use one of the three official languages of the court, and simultaneous interpretation will be provided� This interpretation also makes it possible for anyone following the proceedings in the courtroom or on the Tribunal’s website to follow them in each of the official languages of the Tribunal – Arabic, French or English�
What crimes will be investigated?
The Special Tribunal has jurisdiction over crimes defined under Lebanese law� Article 2(a) of the STL Statute, which sets out the applicable criminal law, refers to the following specific crimes defined by the Lebanese Penal Code (LPC, also known as Law No� 340 of 1943): • Acts of terrorism (articles 314–316); • Crimes and offences against life and personal integrity (articles 547– 568), which include homicide and bodily harm; • Illicit associations (articles 335–339), which include ‘associations of criminals’; • Failure to report crimes and offences (articles 398–400); and • Conspiracy�
Who decides who will be put on trial?
The Pre-Trial Judge examines the indictment and supporting evidence submitted by the Prosecutor and decides whether a prima facie case exists against the suspect� That means that the Prosecutor and the Pre-Trial Judge decide who will be put on trial� This is done as part of a considered and comprehensive two-step process� The Prosecutor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting persons suspected of committing crimes falling within the STL’s jurisdiction� If the Prosecutor believes that there is sufficient evidence that a suspect has committed a crime that falls within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, he can file an indictment for confirmation by the Pre-Trial Judge� The indictment must specify the name and details of each suspect (if more than one), along with a concise statement of the facts of the case and the crime or crimes for which each suspect is charged� With the indictment, the Prosecutor also files
relevant evidence in support of the charges� This evidence is referred to as supporting material� The Pre-Trial Judge carefully reviews the indictment and the supporting material to determine whether a prima facie case exists in respect of each charge against each suspect� A prima facie case is a case that has been supported by sufficient evidence for it to be taken as proved in the absence of adequate evidence to the contrary� In making this determination, the PreTrial Judge may request additional material from the Prosecutor, but he does not weigh or test the credibility or admissibility of the evidence presented� The Pre-Trial Judge can confirm or dismiss each count of the indictment� The confirmation of an indictment is not a finding of guilt – it is simply a determination by the Pre-Trial Judge that there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial� A trial cannot be held without a confirmed indictment� Upon confirmation of any or all counts in an indictment, each suspect attains the status of an accused�
Can a state or group or political party be tried before the STL?
No� Just like all the other contemporary international criminal tribunals and courts after Nuremberg, the STL has a mandate to try individuals only� A state, group, political party, organization or other collective entity cannot be charged or tried before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon�
Can non-Lebanese persons be put on trial?
Yes� The jurisdiction of the STL is not limited to Lebanese citizens�
What is an indictment?
An indictment is a document setting out the Prosecutor’s case against a person or persons whom the Prosecutor believes is or are responsible for the crime� The indictment must specify the name and details of the suspect,
along with a concise statement of the facts of the case and the crime or crimes with which the accused is charged� It must be specific enough to allow the accused to have sufficient notice of the nature and scope of the allegations against him� Two or more crimes can be mentioned in one indictment if they were committed by the same accused, provided that the conduct falls within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction� In addition, more than one person can be named in the indictment and charged and tried at the same time, even if the crimes they are charged with are different, provided that the crimes also fall within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction� The first step in the judicial process is the submission of the indictment to the Pre-trial Judge for review� Even when confirmed, an indictment is not a verdict of guilt against the accused named in it� All accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt�
What happens once an indictment is filed?
Once an indictment is filed by the Prosecutor, it is submitted to the Pre-Trial Judge for confirmation� The Pre-Trial Judge then reviews the indictment and the supporting material to determine whether the offences referred to in the submitted indictment fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, as defined by the Statute� He also evaluates whether there is a prima facie case based on sufficient evidence� Finally, he examines whether the indictment is sufficiently specific and contains grounds which allow each suspect to understand the charges against him� The Defence may argue that an indictment is not sufficiently specific� Once the Pre-Trial Judge has completed his review of an indictment, he can: • request or permit the Prosecutor to present additional evidence in support of any or all counts; • confirm one or more counts; or • dismiss one or more counts or the entire indictment� If the Pre-Trial Judge dismisses part of an indictment or an indictment in its entirety, the Prosecutor can file a new indictment or an amended indictment with new evidence�
The Rules of Procedure and Evidence also provide an opportunity for the Pre-Trial Judge, during his review, to submit questions to the Appeals Chamber on the interpretation of the applicable law� If he submits such questions, the Appeals Chamber rules on them after hearing the Prosecutor and Defence Office in public session� The first time this happened before the STL was on 16 February 2011, when the STL Appeals Chamber issued a decision on the applicable law� This was a landmark decision ruling that the crime of terrorism exists under international customary law and that such an international law definition can be used to interpret the applicable Lebanese law on the matter� It also clarified that the STL must apply the law of Lebanon in relation to homicide, conspiracy and other crimes� The Appeals Chamber decision further tackled the relationship between modes of liability in the Lebanese criminal code and under international law, pointing out that - in case of conflict between the two systems – the provisions most favourable to the accused must apply� The Pre-Trial Judge must be satisfied that a prima facie case exists before confirming the indictment and he must provide reasons for his decision� If the Pre-Trial Judge confirms an indictment, he may issue an arrest warrant or a summons to appear� Efforts are also made to contact the accused and inform them of the charges against them� At the STL, the accused can be tried in their absence if they are not found or if they choose not to participate in the process�
When is an indictment made public?
An indictment can be made public after it has been confirmed by the PreTrial Judge� The Prosecutor’s filing and the Pre-Trial Judge’s review of an indictment is a confidential process� One of the reasons for confidentiality is that there is a stigma attached to a criminal charge� An accused should only be named publicly once an indictment has been confirmed� Thus, an indictment is not a public document until after confirmation� At the time of confirmation, a warrant of arrest may also be filed� Experience at other international tribunals has shown that issuing an indictment under seal, or confidentially, makes it more likely that the accused will be arrested�
This also ensures that the accused is notified of the charges against him or her in advance of the public� The STL made public the fact that the Pre-Trial Judge confirmed the first indictment on 28 June 2011� The indictment itself, however, remained confidential until 29 July 2011, when the Pre-Trial Judge lifted confidentiality on parts of the indictment to make public the full names and aliases, biographical information, photographs and charges against the individuals named in the indictment�
How long does it take for the Pre-Trial Judge to make a ruling on an indictment?
There is no time limit set out in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the Pre-Trial Judge’s review and ruling on an indictment� The Pre-Trial Judge must notify the Prosecutor of the date of review of an indictment� The time required to review an indictment may vary depending on the number of charges, the volume of the supporting materials, the complexity of the case, and the procedural steps� The following are possible steps between the filing and confirmation of an indictment: • The Pre-Trial Judge submits preliminary questions to the Appeals Chamber; • The Prosecutor amends or withdraws the indictment; • The Pre-Trial Judge requests or permits the Prosecutor to present additional materials; • The Pre-Trial Judge dismisses one or all counts, resulting in the Prosecutor preparing and filing either an amended indictment or a new one�
Does confirmation of an indictment signal the end of the investigation?
Not necessarily� The legal threshold required for the Pre-Trial Judge to confirm an indictment is prima facie case� The legal threshold required for conviction at trial is higher� At trial, the Prosecution must prove its case
“beyond a reasonable doubt”� Thus, confirmation of an indictment does not necessarily signal the end of the investigation by the Prosecution, which may be ongoing� Moreover, the Defence may start its own investigations to prepare for the trial� Defence investigations are necessary because the STL’s procedural system does not include an investigating judge who compiles a dossier of evidence against and in favour of the accused� At the STL, the Prosecutor is tasked to present evidence against the accused, and the Defence can decide to present evidence to challenge the Prosecutor’s allegations and evidence� To this end, the Defence must first analyze and verify any evidence presented by the Prosecutor� Secondly, the Defence may collect its own evidence to present in court� The Prosecutor must disclose any exculpatory evidence in his possession�
Can an indictment be amended?
The Prosecutor can amend an indictment without having to seek the permission of the Pre-Trial Judge at any time before the indictment is confirmed� Once an indictment has been confirmed, the Prosecutor may amend it only with the permission of the Pre-Trial Judge, and only if the case has not yet been assigned to the Trial Chamber� Once a case has been assigned to the Trial Chamber, the Trial Chamber will hear from both the Prosecutor and the Defence before deciding whether to allow the Prosecutor to amend the indictment�
What happens after an indictment is confirmed?
Once an indictment is confirmed, each suspect will then have the status of an accused and the Pre-Trial Judge may issue a summons to appear or an arrest warrant� The Registrar prepares certified copies of the indictment (bearing the Tribunal’s seal) in a language understood by each accused� A certified copy of the indictment is formally provided to the authorities of the State in whose territory the accused resides (or was last known to reside)� The national authorities of Lebanon or any other State which has agreed
to cooperate with the Tribunal must attempt to serve the indictment on the accused, together with the summons to appear or arrest warrant, and information on the rights of the accused� The Pre-Trial Judge may issue a warrant of arrest, based on an application by the Prosecutor, to ensure the person’s appearance; to ensure that the person does not obstruct or endanger the investigation or the court proceedings (for instance, by posing a danger to, or intimidating, any victim or witness); or to prevent further criminal conduct� The Pre-Trial Judge may alternatively issue a summons to appear� After the accused has been served the indictment and the summons to appear or an arrest warrant, he must appear before the STL Judges so as to go through the required formal proceedings, referred to as an “initial appearance”� He will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty� This procedure marks the beginning of the pre-trial phase of the proceedings� During the pre-trial phase, there are a number of procedural obligations that need to be fulfilled� For example, the Prosecutor will provide evidence and documents to the Defence so that the accused can prepare his case� This is also the time during which the Defence can file a number of preliminary motions, including motions challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal or alleging defects in the form of the indictment, etc�
What is the difference between a suspect and an accused?
A suspect is a person whom the Prosecutor has reasonable grounds to believe committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the tribunal� An accused is a person who has been formally charged by the Prosecutor with a crime within the jurisdiction of the tribunal� This means that the indictment has been confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge in accordance with the Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence�
What is a trial in absentia?
A trial in absentia is a trial which occurs without the accused participating in or being present for the proceedings� In accordance with Lebanese law and
that of many other States, the STL Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence allow for such proceedings� According to the Statute, proceedings in absentia can be held under three sets of circumstances: when the accused has expressly and in writing waived his right to be present; when the accused has not been handed over to the Tribunal by the State authorities concerned; or when he has fled or cannot be found� If, after “reasonable attempts” the accused cannot be located and served with an indictment, the President of the Tribunal can, after consulting with the Pre-Trial Judge, decide to advertise the indictment, in part or in its entirety, in an effort to inform the accused of the need to appear before the Tribunal� The advertisement invites any person with information as to the whereabouts of the accused to communicate that information to the Tribunal� If the accused is still not under the Tribunal’s authority within 30 working days of the indictment’s public advertisement, the Pre-Trial Judge must ask the Trial Chamber to consider initiating proceedings in absentia� The Trial Chamber will then determine whether the conditions for a trial in absentia have been fulfilled� If the Trial Chamber decides to proceed with a trial in absentia, the Head of the Defence Office will assign counsel to any accused who fails to appoint one� Also, if a trial does take place in absentia but an accused is located during the trial or afterwards, that person would be entitled to request a new trial� Proceedings will not be considered a trial in absentia in situations where the accused initially appears in person and, although subsequently absent, is represented by counsel present at the proceedings; or initially appears in person, by video-conference or through his counsel, and does not expressly waive his right to be present at trial but is not physically present at the trial�
When will the trial start?
There is no deadline set out in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the start of the trial� The confirmation of an indictment is followed by the pretrial phase, an important period of preparation for trial� During this time, the Pre-Trial Judge, in consultation with the parties, the Registrar, the Presiding
Judge of the Trial Chamber and, if necessary, the President, will set a tentative date for the start of the trial at least four months in advance� Thus, at the very least, there will be four months between the start of the pre-trial phase and the beginning of trial� One of the duties of the Pre-Trial Judge is to ensure that the proceedings in the pre-trial phase are not unduly delayed� This is to ensure the accused’s right to an expeditious trial� A number of preliminary motions may be filed after the start of the pre-trial phase and before the start of the trial, including motions to: challenge jurisdiction; allege defects in the form of an indictment; seek severance of counts or separate trials; or raise objections based on the refusal of a request for assignment of counsel� During this time, at least every eight weeks, the Pre-Trial Judge will hold status conferences to review the case preparations� Before starting trial, the Trial Chamber will hold one or more pre-trial conferences in which it can give directions it deems necessary or desirable to ensure a fair, impartial, and expeditious trial� For example, the Trial Chamber can call upon the Prosecutor to shorten the estimated length of the examination-in-chief for some or all witnesses; determine the number of witnesses the Prosecutor may call; and determine the time available to the Prosecutor for the presentation of evidence� The time period between the confirmation of the indictment and the start of the trial is also especially relevant to the Defence, as the Defence is entitled to adequate time and resources to prepare its case for trial, including for its own investigations�
What is an initial appearance of the accused?
The initial appearance is the first time an accused who has been arrested or who has surrendered to the Tribunal appears before the Trial Chamber (or a Judge designated by the President) to be formally advised of the charges� At the initial appearance, the Judges must be satisfied that the rights of the accused have been respected, especially the right to counsel, and that the accused understands the charges that have been brought against him� The Judges will also inform the accused that, within seven days of the initial appearance, he will be called upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each count of the indictment, but that he may also do so immediately� If the
accused does not enter a plea, the Judges can enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf� If the accused pleads guilty and all the requirements under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence are fulfilled, there will be no trial� Rather, the Judges may enter a finding of guilt and then schedule a sentencing hearing�
What is a guilty plea?
A guilty plea is an admission in court by an accused person that he has committed the offence with which he is charged� If there is more than one charge, he can plead ‘guilty’ to some and ‘not guilty’ to others� At the Special Tribunal, if the accused pleads guilty to certain charges and the Judges accept the guilty plea, there will be no further trial proceedings in respect of those charges� The Judges will proceed directly to a sentencing hearing� This procedure is very similar to those in other international tribunals and courts but dissimilar to the criminal proceedings in Lebanon� In order to accept a plea of guilty, the STL Judges must be satisfied that the following conditions have been fulfilled: • that the accused entered a guilty plea voluntarily; • that his plea is informed and unequivocal; and • that there is a sufficient factual basis for the charge and the accused’s participation in the crime (either on the basis of independent indication or lack of any substantive disagreement between the parties about the facts of the case)� In criminal systems which allow for guilty pleas, such pleas are usually the result of plea agreements�
What is a plea agreement?
A plea agreement is a procedure by which the Prosecutor and the Defence agree that the accused will enter a plea of guilty to one or more counts of the indictment, and, in return, the Prosecutor will do one or more of the following:
• apply to the Trial Chamber to amend the indictment accordingly; • submit to the Trial Chamber that a specific sentence or sentencing range is appropriate; and/or • not oppose a submission by the accused to the Trial Chamber for a particular sentence or sentencing range� This procedure is applied in international tribunals and courts and many national systems, especially those based on the common law tradition� If a plea agreement is reached between the parties, it will be presented to the Judges� However, the Judges will only enter a finding of guilt if they first satisfy themselves that the accused understands the terms of the plea agreement and that he has discussed them with his counsel; that he understands the consequences of a plea of guilty; that he has not been threatened or coerced in any way to enter into the plea agreement and has entered into the plea agreement knowingly and voluntarily� The fact that the Judges may accept such an agreement does not necessarily mean that they are bound by it� The Judges may still impose a sentence higher or lower than that suggested in the plea agreement�
How are the proceedings conducted?
Proceedings before the STL consist of four phases: 1� investigations by the Prosecutor; 2� the pre-trial phase; 3� the trial phase; and 4� the appeals phase� The lengthiest phases are the pre-trial and trial phases� The Pre-Trial Phase During the pre-trial phase, the Pre-Trial Judge will coordinate communication between the parties and oversee disclosure; ensure that there is no undue
delay in the proceedings; and take any measures necessary to prepare the case for a fair and expeditious trial� At the beginning of the pre-trial proceedings, the Pre-Trial Judge will establish a working plan indicating, in general terms, the obligations that the parties are required to meet and the dates by which these obligations must be fulfilled� He will also oversee the implementation of the working plan� The trial begins following the resolution of pre-trial matters and after ensuring that the Defence is ready for trial� At least four months in advance, the Pre-Trial Judge will set a date for the beginning of trial� The Trial Phase The trial is conducted before the Trial Chamber consisting of three Judges – one Lebanese and two international� Two alternate Judges (one Lebanese and one international) also follow the proceedings� The trial proper begins with the opening statement of the prosecution� Following that, the legal representative(s) of the victims participating in the proceedings may make an opening statement� The Defence may choose to make its statement at this time or after the conclusion of the Prosecutor’s presentation of evidence and before the presentation of evidence for the Defence� At trial, the evidence is presented in the following order (unless otherwise directed by the Trial Chamber in the interests of justice): • Evidence for the Prosecutor, • Evidence called by the Trial Chamber at the request of victims participating in the proceedings, • Evidence for the Defence, • Prosecutor evidence in rebuttal, • Rebuttal evidence called at the request of victims participating in the proceedings, • Defence evidence in rejoinder� In each case, an examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination is allowed� Examination-in-chief is the questioning of a witness by the party that brought him to testify� Cross-examination is the questioning of a witness by the opposing party� Re-examination is the opportunity for the party that
brought the witness into the proceedings to question him in relation to issues that were raised during cross-examination� At the STL, Judges may also elect to start questioning the witness themselves, as is more common in Lebanon and other civil law systems� At the end of the trial, the Prosecutor may present closing arguments, followed by the victims participating in the proceedings and the Defence� The Prosecutor may present a rebuttal argument to which the Defence may present a rejoinder� The accused may make a final statement on matters relevant to the trial� When both the Prosecution and Defence have completed their presentation of the case, the Presiding Judge will declare the hearing closed and the Trial Chamber will deliberate in private� The Judges will examine all the materials submitted into evidence and all the witness testimony to determine if the Prosecutor has proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt� If so, the Trial Chamber may find the accused guilty� If not, the Judges must find the accused ‘not guilty�’ Judgment may be rendered by a majority of the three Judges of the Trial Chamber� It will be accompanied by a reasoned opinion in writing and will describe both the factual and the legal findings and it is likely to be a lengthy document� Separate or dissenting opinions may be attached to the judgment� This is why deliberations and the drafting of a judgment could take months to complete� It is worth noting that the Judges will only consider that which has been submitted in court, as part of criminal proceedings before them, and will not take into consideration any other information that is not formally admitted as evidence� As in many countries with the common law tradition, the proceedings for determining the sentence are separate from those to establish criminal responsibility and subsequent to the trial verdict� This also allows the Defence to focus on pleading that the accused is not guilty during trial, without having to additionally discuss what the appropriate prison sentence would be, should he be found guilty� The sentencing proceedings begin after the accused has pleaded guilty or was found guilty at the end of the trial� During the course of the sentencing proceedings, the parties may submit any relevant information that may assist
the Trial Chamber in determining an appropriate sentence� The Judges can sentence a convicted person to imprisonment for a term up to and including life� In determining the sentence, the Trial Chamber will take into account the gravity of the offence and the individual circumstances of the convicted person, as well as factors such as: • any aggravating circumstances; • any mitigating circumstances, including substantial cooperation with the Prosecutor by the convicted person before or after conviction; • the general practice regarding prison sentences in Lebanon; • the extent to which any penalty imposed by a court of any State on the convicted person for the same act has already been served� They can either pronounce separate sentences for each charge or just one sentence punishing the totality of the criminal conduct of the accused� At the conclusion of the proceedings, the sentence is pronounced in open court, and, wherever possible, in the presence of the accused, as well as of the victims participating in the proceedings� A convicted person may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term up to and including the remainder of his or her life� Unlike in Lebanon, there is no death penalty or sentence of forced labour at the Tribunal� Those convicted will serve their sentences in a state designated by the President which is on the list of States that have agreed to accept persons convicted by the STL on their territory� In case of an acquittal, the accused will be released� However, the Judges may order the continued detention of the accused if the Prosecutor informs the Trial Chamber that he intends to appeal the judgment of acquittal� Such detention could last until the Appeals Chamber renders its judgment� Both the Prosecution and the Defence can lodge an appeal against the verdict� If acquitted by the Appeals Chamber, an accused must be released immediately unless he is facing charges in another case�
How are the appeal proceedings conducted?
Appeals against decisions of the Trial Chamber and Pre-Trial Judge are heard and decided by the Appeals Chamber� The STL Appeals Chamber comprises five Judges – three international and two Lebanese� Both the Prosecutor and the accused can file an appeal against a judgment and/or sentence� Either side can appeal alleged errors of fact (if the appellant believes that an erroneous conclusion on the facts of the case was made) or errors of law (if they believe that the Judges made wrong legal determinations in the judgment)� The Judges will not re-try the case� The appeals procedure takes place through an exchange of written submissions by the parties� This is followed by an oral hearing before the Appeals Chamber� The Appeals Chamber can also authorise the parties to present additional evidence, if certain criteria are met: • if this evidence was not available during the trial even though due diligence was applied; • if the evidence is relevant and credible; and • if it could have been a decisive factor in reaching the decision at trial� At the conclusion of the appeal proceedings, the Appeals Chamber renders its verdict in open court� The judgment on appeal may be rendered by a majority of the Judges and must be accompanied by a reasoned opinion in writing� Separate or dissenting opinions may be attached to the judgment� The Judges may affirm/uphold or reverse/revise the Trial Chamber’s decision in question and/or the sentence pronounced� In the interests of justice, they can also send the accused back to the Trial Chamber for re-trial� Under normal circumstances, the Judgment of the Appeals Chamber is final� The Rules of Procedure and Evidence, however, also provide the possibility of review proceedings� In the event of crucial new evidence which was not known during the trial coming to light within the time-limits laid down in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the parties can seek a review of a conviction, acquittal or sentence�
What evidence can be used at trial?
The Judges can, in principle, admit any relevant item of evidence that they consider of probative value, which means that they consider it sufficiently
useful to prove an important fact� A Chamber may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial� The evidence must have been gathered by lawful means which do not violate the rights of suspects and accused, and the Judges can take the measures necessary to verify the authenticity of the evidence submitted� Evidence can be presented by the Prosecution, the Defence and the legal representatives of the victims authorised to participate in the proceedings� Judges may also call evidence on their own initiative� Evidence can be oral or written� Generally speaking, witnesses and experts will appear in person before the Judges� The parties, and victims participating in the proceedings or their legal representatives, can examine and crossexamine them within the parameters set out in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence� This means that, as a general rule, evidence must be discussed in court, in public, with both parties present� In addition, and in keeping with the rules that apply at other international and hybrid tribunals and courts, the Judges can also admit written evidence, subject to certain safeguards� The principles governing the admissibility of such evidence and the weight that can be given to it varies according to its nature� For example: documents, other than written witness statements, are, in principle, admissible; written statements made by a witness not present in court and the transcripts of his depositions are only admissible if they relate to an issue other than the acts and conduct of the accused; written statements by a witness present in court are in principle only admissible if that witness attests that they accurately reflect his declaration and what he would say if examined, and he agrees to be cross-examined if the other party requests; and the written statements of an unavailable witness and the transcripts of his depositions are only admissible if the Judges are satisfied that the witness is genuinely unavailable and that his statements or the transcripts thereof are reliable, taking into account how it was made and maintained� The Judges will make a record of reasons for any ruling they make on evidentiary matters�
Do the STL Rules of Procedure and Evidence allow anonymous witnesses to testify?
Yes, under certain very strict conditions and as an exception� Given the special nature of terrorist cases, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence allow exceptionally for a witness (for example – an individual whose life or the life of someone close to him is in danger) to give evidence, at any stage in the proceedings, anonymously, that is without his identity being revealed to the parties or even to the Trial Chamber� This is a proceeding of “last resort” and would only be used if all the measures for the protection of witnesses as provided for under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence would be insufficient to prevent such danger� Anonymous witnesses will be questioned by the Pre-Trial Judge� The Pre-Trial Judge can ask an anonymous witness any questions he considers necessary, including those conveyed by the parties or the legal representatives of victims participating in the proceedings� He will then send a transcript of the answers (if appropriate, in redacted form so as not to reveal the identity of the witness) to the parties and the legal representatives of victims participating in the proceedings, giving an assessment as to the truthfulness of the witness’s statement� The Trial Judges cannot, under any circumstances, convict an accused solely on the basis of the evidence of an anonymous witness� Other evidence that corroborates it is required�
Who can be called as a witness?
A witness is any person who can give a firsthand or factual account of matters relevant to investigations and trials falling within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal� Each party independently decides which witnesses it wishes to call� Anyone considered important in establishing the truth during investigations and trial proceedings could be asked to give evidence� These individuals can include victims, as well as experts possessing particular knowledge or skills of relevance to the case� Witnesses may present their evidence whilst testifying in court or by way of a written statement� The Chamber may limit the number of witnesses called�
It should be noted that in the gathering of evidence, Prosecution and Defence investigators may interview many individuals� However, only some of those witnesses will eventually be called to present their evidence before the Judges in court�
What happens to a witness who gives false testimony?
For an individual’s testimony to be considered “false,” it should be given before the Tribunal’s Judges� A witness giving such testimony may be prosecuted for “false testimony under solemn declaration”� Before giving evidence in court, the Tribunal asks every witness to make the following solemn declaration: “I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”� If the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber has strong grounds for believing that a witness has knowingly and wilfully given false testimony in court, he or it can direct the Prosecutor to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecute the matter� If the Pre-Trial Judge or the Chamber believes that the Prosecutor might have a conflict of interest with respect to the issue, he or it can direct the Registrar to appoint an amicus curiae (or ‘friend of the court’) to investigate the matter and report back to the Pre-Trial Judge or Chamber as to whether there are sufficient grounds for instigating proceedings for false testimony� The Pre-Trial Judge or Chamber can then issue an order in lieu of an indictment and direct the amicus curiae to prosecute the matter� The suspected or indicted witness enjoys the same rights as any other suspect or accused, including the right to have counsel at the expense of the STL if they are indigent� The trial of a person indicted for giving false testimony will be conducted before the Pre-Trial Judge, and he will determine the conviction and sentence, if any� The maximum penalty is a fine of 100,000 Euros or seven years in prison, or both� The verdict of the Pre-Trial Judge or Trial Chamber can be appealed�
Can victims participate in the trial?
Yes� According to the Tribunal’s Rules, a victim is a natural person who has suffered physical, material or mental harm as a direct result of an attack
within the STL’s jurisdiction� A victim may apply for the status of a “victim participating in the proceedings” by completing the application form available on the STL’s website� The Victims’ Participation Unit (VPU) will check applications and then forward them to the Pre-Trial Judge� In determining whether to authorise individual victims to participate in the Tribunal’s proceedings, the Pre-Trial Judge will consider: • whether the applicant has provided prima facie evidence that s/he is a victim; • whether his/her personal interests have been affected; • whether his/her proposed participation is intended to express his/her views and concerns; and • whether his/her participation would prejudice the rights of the accused to a fair trial� Upon being granted the status of a victim participating in the proceedings, a victim may present his/her ‘views and concerns’ in a manner and at a time authorised by the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber� If authorised by the Trial or Appeals Chamber, a victim can call and cross-examine witnesses, give evidence and file motions or briefs� However, a victim participating in the proceedings before the STL is not the equivalent of a partie civile (or civil party) in some civil law systems, such as Lebanon� An important difference is that victims cannot start or trigger criminal proceedings or claim compensation before the Tribunal� They may, however, use a final judgment of the Tribunal to support the exercise of their rights (such as a claim for damages) in a national court� Finally, a victim participating in the proceedings may only do so through a legal representative, unless the Pre-Trial Judge authorises otherwise�
How can victims participate in the proceedings?
The Tribunal has two units within the Registry which deal with victims who participate in proceedings: the Victims’ Participation Unit (VPU) and the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU)� The VPU is responsible for assisting victims wishing to participate in the proceedings, and the VWU is responsible for providing protection, support and other assistance, if required�
The Victims’ Participation Unit is responsible for assisting victims participating in the proceedings in a number of ways� It informs victims of their rights and of the developments in the case, it assists victims in their application process� And if granted the right to participate in the proceedings, it provides the victims or their legal representatives with all necessary judicial support� Administering the Victims’ legal aid programme, The VPU also ensures that indigent victims are assigned a legal representative at the expense of the Tribunal� This latter will be designated from a list of qualified counsel drawn up and maintained by the VPU� The VWU provides the necessary administrative and logistical assistance to victims appearing before the Tribunal� While the relevant provision of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence only refers to witnesses appearing before the Tribunal as being eligible to receive this assistance from the VWU, the VWU, in agreement with the VPU, will also provide the same logistical and administrative assistance to victims who are required to attend the proceedings�
What protection and support can the Tribunal give its victims and witnesses?
The nature of all international and hybrid Tribunals and Courts and the cases before them requires that the court be able to take necessary measures to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses called to appear before it� The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is no exception� The Victims and Witnesses Unit is an independent and neutral body within the Registry which contributes to the effective functioning of the Tribunal by facilitating the appearance of victims and witnesses before the Tribunal, and by providing professional, specialized protection and support services to victims and witnesses, whether they are called by the Chambers, Victims’ legal representatives (VLR), or the parties� These services aim to ensure the safety, well-being and protection of victims and witnesses, to ensure that the act of testifying or participating in the proceedings does not result in further harm or suffering� Additionally, the VWU can also “provide any additional assistance as ordered by the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber as is consistent with the mandate and responsibilities of the Unit�” In performing its functions, the VWU respects
the interests of victims and witnesses, and operates with the highest level of integrity, impartiality and confidentiality at all times� During appearances before the Tribunal, the Judges of the Tribunal may order a number of protective measures to safeguard the identity of victims and witnesses� The Judges may authorise the parties and victims legal representatives to assign victims and witnesses pseudonyms, redact identifying information and order the non-disclosure to the public of any records identifying the victim or witness� It may also use image and soundaltering devices to disguise the appearance and voices of victims and witnesses testifying before the Chamber and may allow victims and witnesses to testify in camera (in private)� In some situations, the Tribunal may hold hearings in private or closed session to protect the confidentiality of victims and witness testimony� Victims and witnesses could also give evidence via video-conference or anonymously (under very strict conditions,)� If the situation of a particular victim or witness warrants it, there is a possibility of relocation to a third country� This most drastic measure under the authority of the Registrar isreserved for individuals whose lives are at risk of imminent serious harm or death as a result of their interaction with the Tribunal�
What are the rights of the accused?
The rights of the accused are enshrined in Article 16 of the STL Statute and throughout the Rules of Procedure and Evidence� All accused are equal before the Tribunal� They are entitled to a fair and public hearing� The accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the Prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt� The accused has no obligation to present a case if he believes that the prosecution has not proven the charges in the indictment� In order to convict the accused, the Judges must be convinced of his/her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt� All accused are entitled to the following minimum guarantees: • to be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge(s) against him;
• to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate without hindrance with counsel of his own choosing; • to be tried without undue delay; • except in the case of trials in absentia, to be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; • to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; • to have legal assistance assigned to him where the interests of justice so require and without payment by him if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it; • to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him; • to examine all evidence to be used against him during the trial in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal; • to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in the Tribunal; • not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt� The accused may make statements in court at any stage of the proceedings, provided such statements are relevant to the case at issue� The Chambers will decide on the probative value, if any, of such statements� These rights are in accordance with the highest standards of international justice�
What sentence will the accused receive if found guilty?
A convicted person may be sentenced for a period up to and including the remainder of his/her life� Specific sentences will be a matter for the STL Judges to determine based on the facts of each individual case� Although forced labour and the death penalty are punishments under Lebanese law, such sentences are not allowed at the Tribunal�
Where will the trials take place?
The tribunal’s courtroom is located in Leidschendam, close to The Hague in the Netherlands� The general public is welcome to follow the proceedings in person in the public gallery and by watching the public proceedings streamed on the Tribunal’s website� The STL can be easily reached by public transport, taxi or private vehicle� For a map of the area and directions to the Tribunal, please consult the STL website at: www�stl-tsl�org or contact the Tribunal� A media centre is available so journalists can report regularly on the proceedings�
How long will the trials take?
The exact length of a trial cannot be determined� Its timing will depend on a number of factors (subject to the control of the Trial Chamber), including the following: • • • • • • the number of accused in a case; the volume of evidence; the number of witnesses that are called; the time needed by the Defence to prepare for trial; the time needed to determine and draft the final judgment; and the number of appeals that are lodged�
Will the trials be public? Who can attend the trials?
All trials will be open to the public at all times, except in exceptional circumstances when the Judges decide that the public must be excluded, for example to protect the identity of witnesses or victims� Anyone over the age of 16 can attend the hearings, which will take place in the Tribunal’s courtroom in Leidschendam, near The Hague in the Netherlands� There is no admission cost and a gallery of seats is reserved for the general public, who can turn up unannounced, provided they can present identification� However, seating is limited, so those wishing to be certain of a place are advised to register in advance� The STL also has a general visitors’ centre where television screens will provide coverage of the proceedings, with a 30 minute delay�
If I can’t go to see the trials, how will I know what is happening?
The STL is making every effort to ensure that information about its proceedings is available as far and wide as possible� Information is disseminated on the STL website, through press releases, media advisories and other written materials, as well as images and streaming of proceedings� The STL also has a sophisticated Media Centre and a Public Affairs Section which spares no effort to facilitate the coverage of the Tribunal’s work by the media� In addition, the Outreach Section of the Tribunal continues to provide updated information about the Tribunal’s work, especially to audiences in Lebanon� The trials will be broadcast on the Tribunal’s website� TV stations in Lebanon and around the world will also have the possibility to broadcast the proceedings should they wish to do so� During trial, there will be a 30-minute delay in the live broadcast to ensure that no confidential information is revealed� If any such information is deliberately or inadvertently disclosed during proceedings, the audio-visual record will be redacted to remove the confidential information� This can only be done on orders of the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber� Transcripts of all public hearings will be available�
Can one obtain all information on filings or trial proceedings?
All public filings and proceedings are accessible online to the public on the STL website (www�stl-tsl�org) or on request from the Public Affairs and Outreach Sections of the Tribunal (please see contact details below)�
How can I find out more information about the STL?
Visit http://www.stl-tsl.org General inquiries Tel: +31 (0) 70 800 3400 Press Office Tel: +31 (0) 70 800 3560 (English/French) Tel: +31 (0) 70 800 3828 (Arabic/English) Email: email@example.com Spokesperson Tel: +31 (0)70 800 3733, Mob: +31 (0) 6 2950 1751 Office of the Prosecutor Tel: +31 (0)6 5088 9203, Tel: + 31 (0)70 800 3438 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Outreach Office Tel: +961 4 538 129 Email: email@example.com Defence Office Tel: +31(0) 70 800 3454, Fax: +31 (0) 70 800 3564 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Victims’ Participation Unit Tel: +961 4 538 151 Email: email@example.com Street Address: Special Tribunal for Lebanon Dokter van der Stamstraat 1 2265 BC Leidschendam The Netherlands Postal Address: Special Tribunal for Lebanon P�O� Box 115 2260 AC Leidschendam The Netherlands
STL Outreach July 2012
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