Leidschendam, 21 February 2013 – Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen has postponed the start of trial in the case of Ayyash et al., in a decision issued today.
A new tentative date will soon be set by Judge Fransen, to replace 25 March 2013 as a provisional date for the start of trial. Judge Fransen has asked for submissions from the Prosecution, Defence Counsel and Victims' Representatives by 8 March on their preparedness for trial, after which he will set the new date.
The decision is in response to the Defence Counsel for the four accused in the 14 February 2005 attack asking the Pre-Trial Judge to postpone the trial date.
The Pre-Trial Judge found that certain disclosure obligations had not been met, which the Prosecution recognized. He found that the Prosecution has not yet disclosed the entirety of the material to the Defence, and that the Defence has not yet been able to access certain material disclosed by the Prosecution due to technical issues. In reaching his decision, the Pre-Trial Judge also took note of the ongoing cooperation requests by the Defence made to the Lebanese authorities. Judge Fransen wrote in his decision that all of these issues could not have been foreseen when he set the tentative trial date in July 2012 and also noted the volume of evidence.
Judge Fransen found all these facts to justify the Defence's request to postpone the trial date, which would otherwise not allow Defence Counsel adequate time to prepare for trial and would be in violation of the most basic right of the accused and the principle of fair trial. He further stressed that all participants must adhere to and respect set deadlines.