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Chambers is one of the fours organs of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. It operates independently from the other three: the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence Office and the Registry.

Chambers is composed of 11 judges, who are divided into three sections:

  • Pre-trial chamber: one international judge
  • Trial chamber: one Lebanese, two international plus two alternates (one Lebanese, one international) who can serve in addition to or act as replacements to the trial judges
  • Appeals chamber: two Lebanese and three international judges

This mixture of Lebanese and international judges means that Lebanese law is applied correctly whilst guaranteeing the impartiality of the proceedings. The considerable experience of the tribunal's judges ensures that the highest international standards of criminal justice are followed.

Role of Chambers

The judges of the STL are independent - they are not linked to the investigations carried out by the prosecution, nor are they members of governments or international organisations. It is the duty of all judges at the tribunal to protect the rights of the accused and the victims who are participating in the trials. Ultimately, they rule on the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Appointing the judges

Selecting the judges is a careful and thorough process. They must be "persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity" as required by the tribunal's statute. They serve for three years and are eligible for re-appointment. The UN secretary-general appoints the judges in consultation with the Lebanese government and upon the recommendation of a selection panel.

Lebanese judges

The Lebanese Supreme Council of the Judiciary compiles a list of 12 nominees, which is submitted to the UN secretary-general by the Lebanese government.

International judges

The process is different for international judges. Nominations are received from UN member states or competent persons and submitted to the selection panel. The nominees must have extensive and diverse legal backgrounds.

President of the STL

The president of the STL, Judge Ivana Hrdličková, is responsible for the good administration of justice. In the president's absence her duties are fulfilled by the vice-president, Judge Ralph Riachi.

Duties of the president

  • Issuing practice directions on the day-to-day conduct of court proceedings
  • Establishing a Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel appearing before the tribunal
  • Represent the tribunal as a whole
  • Submitting an annual report on the work of the tribunal to the UN secretary-general and to the government of Lebanon

Judicial work of Chambers

  • Determine guilt or innocence of accused
  • Determine the admissibility of evidence
  • Interpret the law to be applied

Regulatory work of Chambers

  • Adopt and amend the Rules of Procedure and Evidence
  • Determine and supervise the conditions of detention