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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: a critical perspective


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Speaker(s): Dr Omar Nashabe
Chair: Professor Christine Chinkin

Recorded on 16 January 2014 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

Created by the UN Security Council to try the assassins of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri on February 14th 2005, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is scheduled to start its hearings on January 13th 2014. The STL prosecutor has indicted five members of Hezbollah, who have not been arrested and will be tried in absentia. After a short presentation of the background and creation of the STL, the speaker will present an overview of the indictment and the prosecution’s pre-trial brief. On what basis were the five persons indicted? This will be followed by a review of the appointment of defence counsels and their teams and their subsequent submissions to the pre-trial judge and to the appeals chamber.

How will the persons indicted have the right to defence in a trial in absentia? The third part of the lecture will discuss the main challenges facing the defence counsels.

Is there parity of resources between the defence and the prosecution? The speaker has been closely monitoring the tribunal since it was launched in 2009. As a consultant for the defence counsels, he is bound by confidentiality and will refer only to declassified and public documents, subject to redaction where required.

Dr Omar Nashabe is a criminal justice specialist, a founding member of Al-Akhbar newspaper and a lecturer at the Lebanese American University. He served as advisor to the Lebanese minister of interior for human rights and prisons. He also worked as a consultant for several local and international organizations including UNODC and has published on Lebanese prisons, prison reform and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He is an elected member of the UNESCO Lebanese National Committee’s executive council.

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