Judge Fransen ruled that Mr El Sayed would receive some of the documents in the possession of the STL Prosecutor very soon. A large majority of these will be disclosed to Mr El Sayed, whilst others can only be inspected by his counsel.
Judge Fransen also ruled that these documents can only be used for ‘legitimate purposes’. The use of these documents must respect the presumption of innocence, the right of the defence and the right to privacy of third parties.
Mr El Sayed was one of four generals who was detained by the Lebanese authorities in connection with the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others. He was released in April 2009, just weeks after the establishment of the STL, following an order by Judge Fransen.
Mr El Sayed has claimed that he was wrongly detained by the Lebanese authorities on the basis of libelous denunciations. He has requested documents related to this claim. Mr El Sayed asked the STL for access to this evidence so that he can pursue civil claims in national courts.
This process has taken some time. First the Prosecutor identified and listed several hundred documents in his possession and then the Pre-Trial Judge has individually reviewed each of them before reaching his decision.
Judge Fransen has ordered the Prosecutor to file a report by June 13th that explains how he has completed the obligations required in this decision.
This is an ongoing process. If the Prosecutor finds new documents during his investigation he may be required to disclose them. The Pre-Trial Judge has also ordered the Prosecutor to review some additional documents, which may be released to Mr El Sayed in the future.
Judge Fransen’s decision was issued in French. Translations of the ruling into Arabic and English will follow in due course.