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About the STL

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is a tribunal of international character. The STL was inaugurated on 1 March 2009 and has four organs:

The STL's headquarters are on the outskirts of The Hague, the Netherlands and the tribunal also has an office in Beirut, Lebanon.

Its primary mandate is to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and injured many others.

The tribunal was established following a request by the government of Lebanon to the United Nations. The agreement between Lebanon and the UN was not ratified, and the UN brought its provisions into force through UN Security Council Resolution 1757.

It is an independent, judicial organisation composed of Lebanese and international judges. It is neither a UN court nor part of the Lebanese judicial system. It does, however, try people under Lebanese criminal law. The tribunal is also the first of its kind to deal with terrorism as a discrete crime.

Voluntary contributions make up 51 per cent of its funding and 49 per cent comes from Lebanon.

Jurisdiction of the tribunal

The tribunal has "jurisdiction over persons responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 resulting in the death of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and in the death or injury of other persons" (Article 1, STL statute).

The tribunal also has jurisdiction over other attacks in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 if it is proven that they are connected to the events of 14 February and are of similar nature and gravity. The mandate also allows the tribunal to have jurisdiction over crimes carried out on any later date, decided by the parties and with the consent of the UN Security Council, if they are connected to the 14 February 2005 attack.

To seek jurisdiction for these cases, the Office of the Prosecutor must submit prima facie evidence of a connection such as:

  • criminal intent
  • the purpose behind the attacks
  • the nature of the victims targeted
  • the pattern of the attacks (modus operandi)
  • and the perpetrators