Leidschendam, 11 February 2014 – The Trial Chamber issued an oral ruling today to join the case against Hassan Habib Merhi with the case against Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra . A written decision on the matter will be issued in due course. All of the five accused are indicted for their alleged role in the 14 February 2005 attack.
Following deliberations by the Judges at the close of the hearing, Presiding judge of the Trial Chamber David Re said: “In these circumstances, the interests of justice must favour joining the two cases. The Trial Chamber has therefore decided that the two cases should be joined and tried on the same indictment.”
The hearing was subsequently adjourned until tomorrow 10 AM (CET), 12 February 2014.
At tomorrow's hearing the Trial Chamber will discuss the practicalities in pursuing a joint trial, including the length of adjournment necessary to allow Mr. Merhi's counsel adequate time to prepare.
- The Prosecutor submitted an indictment to the Pre-Trial Judge against Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra on 17 January 2011. The indictment, confirmed on 28 June 2011, was transmitted along with the arrest warrants to the Lebanese authorities on 30 June 2011. On 1 February 2012, the Trial Chamber issued a decision to try the four accused in absentia, in accordance with Article 22 of the Statute of the Tribunal.
- On 31 July 2013, the Pre-Trial Judge confirmed a sealed indictment submitted by the Prosecutor against Mr. Merhi. This was made public in October last year.
- On 20 December 2013, the Trial Chamber issued a decision to try Mr. Merhi in absentia, which is permissible under Lebanese law.
- On 30 December 2013, the Prosecution filed an application to the Trial Chamber in the Ayyash et al. case to join the two cases. On 2 January 2014, the Pre-Trial Judge referred to the Trial Chamber the possible joinder of the two cases, as requested by the Prosecution.
- On 16 January 2014, the trial in the Ayyash et al. case started with the opening statements by the Prosecution, the Legal Representatives of Victims and Defence counsel for Messrs. Badreddine and Oneissi. On 22 January, the Prosecution started presenting evidence related to the 14 February 2005 attack.