You are on page 1of 2


February 2014
The STL Bulletin provides a monthly overview of the latest judicial developments, news, and visits to the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon. It is one of a number of publications produced by the Tribunal. You can read them all at

Judicial developments
Prosecution Continues Presenting Evidence in the
Ayyash et al. Case
On 22 January, the Prosecution started tendering
evidence related to the 14 February 2005 attack.
In the course of the three weeks that followed, a
total of 15 witnesses testified in person before the
Trial Chamber. Seven of the witnesses appeared
in the courtroom located in Leidschendam in the
Netherlands, while the eight others testified via
video teleconference link. Four of the witnesses were
granted protective measures by the Trial Chamber
and were, thus, identified by pseudonyms, with
their images and voices distorted.
The majority of the Prosecution witnesses testified
about the loss of family members as a result of
the attack. Ms Robyn Fraser, who was previously
an investigator in the Office of the Prosecutor at
the STL, focused on the closed-circuit television
footage relevant to the movements of the
Mitsubishi Canter van, which was allegedly used
to conceal and detonate the attacks explosives. Mr
Khaled Osman Toubaili, now a retired civil servant

in the Beirut Fire Department, provided testimony

on the firefighting procedures and activities after
the attack.
Other individuals who occupied different posts
in the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF)
addressed the Trial Chamber about the inspection
and management of the crime scene, recovery of
some evidence (e.g., parts alleged to be those of
a Mitsubishi vehicle), collection and analyses of
DNA samples as well as other matters relevant to
the investigations into the 14 February 2005 attack.
The testimony of Malcolm Wilson, who assisted
the United Nations International Independent
Investigation Commission, focused on the search
of the marina and swimming pool surrounding the
crime scene. In his efforts, Mr Wilson worked with
experienced divers from Lebanon and other States.
During this period, the Trial Chamber formally
admitted into evidence Prosecution documents.
The evidence included Witness statements from
ten witnesses admitted under Rule 155 of the
RPE, CCTV still images and video footage of
Dokter van der Stamstraat 1, 2265 BC Leidschendam, Netherlands PO Box 115, 2260 AC Leidschendam, Netherlands.
For more information please contact the Public Information and Communications Section: Tel : +31 (0) 70 800 3560 / 3828 and +961 4 538 100 (Beirut)

the area surrounding the crime scene and a series

of photographs compiled by the photography
department at the Al-Mustaqbal newspaper. The
evidence also comprised a series of photographs
compiled by foreign forensic experts who inspected
the area of the explosion soon after 14 February
Joint Hearing on Joinder
On 11 February, the Trial Chamber heard
submissions on whether or not the Ayyash et al. and
Merhi cases should be joined. The parties discussed
issues that may arise from joining the case against
Hassan Habib Merhi with the case against Mustafa
Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein
Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra. The
Prosecution, Defence counsel and the Defence
Office also submitted arguments about the powers
of the Trial Chamber to hear matters which may
also fall within the powers of the Pre-Trial Judge.
After hearing from all parties, the Trial Chamber
decided that the two cases should be joined and
tried on the same indictment. Presiding Judge Re
explained that this decision is in the interests of
justice. He noted that none of the counsel for the
five Accused made written submissions opposing
the joinder, but that counsel for Mr Merhi had
asked to be given adequate time and facilities to
prepare. Hassan Habib Merhi will now be tried in
the case Ayyash et al. (STL-11-01).

On 12 February 2014, the joint hearing resumed

during which the logistical aspects of joinder were
discussed in detail. Regarding the duration of an
adjournment in light of joinder, the Prosecutor
indicated that one of the factors in determining
a time period is the defence strategy. Counsel for
Mr Ayyash and Mr Badreddine estimated that the
Merhi Defence would need four to six months
to prepare for trial, while counsel for Mr Oneissi
deemed six months to be the absolute minimum.
Counsel for Mr Merhi estimated that they would
need six months to take stock and to discuss a
realistic date for the resumption of the trial.
On 25 February, the Trial Chamber issued a
decision on trial management and its reasoning
for granting the joinder. The Trial Chamber
found that joinder is desirable under the present
circumstances, as long as the appropriate measures
are taken to ensure fairness to the Merhi team. The
decision added that joining the Merhi and Ayyash
et al. proceedings would better protect the rights
of the five Accused to a fair and expeditious trial.
In particular, the Trial Chamber ordered for trial
proceedings to be adjourned until at least early to
mid-May 2014.
For a concise summary of all judicial developments,
please refer to Issue 6 of the Judicial Brief at http://
Full transcripts of all hearings can be found on the
STL website:

Other News
In February, the STL hosted groups of visitors from
the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies
in Leiden, the Institute for the Law of Peace and
Armed Conflict in Bochum, and the Catholic
College Bruges-Ostend. The STL also hosted a
group of interns from the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

STL Links
To access all STL filings, please refer to
For job vacancies, please refer to

Visits to the Tribunal can be arranged for groups to

provide an insight into the work of the STL. Please
fill in our online booking form to request a group visit.
Dokter van der Stamstraat 1, 2265 BC Leidschendam, Netherlands PO Box 115, 2260 AC Leidschendam, Netherlands.
For more information please contact the Public Information and Communications Section: Tel : +31 (0) 70 800 3560 / 3828 and +961 4 538 100 (Beirut)