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The Office of the Prosecutor

The Office of the Prosecutor is one of the four organs of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Prosecutor is Norman Farrell (Canada). The other three organs are Chambers, the Defence Office and the Registry.

A two-fold mandate

The Office of the Prosecutor both investigates and prosecutes persons suspected to be responsible for the crimes falling within the tribunal’s jurisdiction, including:

  • The attack of 14 February 2005 killing Rafik Hariri and others
  • Attacks in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 that are connected and are of a similar nature and gravity to the Hariri attack
  • Attacks on any date after 12 December 2005 as decided by Lebanon and the United Nations with the consent of the UN Security Council if these attacks are connected and are of a similar nature and gravity to the attack of 14 February 2005

Independence and integrity

Mr. Farrell was appointed by the UN secretary general upon consultation with the Security Council. The prosecutor acts entirely independently. He does not seek or receive instructions from any source. His decisions are based on sound legal criteria; his only guide is the evidence.

The prosecutor’s decisions are guided by the STL statute, rules of procedure and evidence, internationally recognised legal standards and the evidence.

Mr Farrell's decisions to investigate, prosecute or file an appeal are predicated on sound legal criteria and based on evidence available. No one may order the prosecutor to file an indictment, refrain from doing so or file an appeal. Political or other external factors are not taken into consideration.

Structure of the OTP

The prosecutor is supported by a Lebanese deputy prosecutor, Joyce Tabet, who works from the tribunal’s office in Beirut. The Office of the Prosecutor is organised on the basis of multi-disciplinary teams with staff hailing from 35 countries, and with offices in Leidschendam and Beirut.

The prosecutor is assisted by Lebanese and international professionals including police officers, forensic experts, analysts and lawyers to help carry out the investigation and prosecution. They work in the following sections:

  • The immediate office
  • The investigation division
  • The prosecution division

Mission statement:

  • Bringing terrorists to justice
  • Bringing justice to victims
  • Helping end impunity in Lebanon

Investigation Division

The investigation division is responsible for collecting and analysing evidence to provide a solid and credible evidentiary basis for indictment and trial. The prosecutor is assisted by investigators, forensic experts and analysts including former and serving police officers with experience in challenging investigative environments.

The cooperation and support of the Lebanese authorities and other states is an important factor in conducting the investigation.

The investigation of terrorist attacks is complex and time consuming owing to the quantity and range of information to be managed. It requires a multidisciplinary approach that varies from technical investigations to forensics to more typical investigative instruments, such as witness interviews.

Investigators use laboratories worldwide to conduct a range of forensic independent tests. As with any investigation, confidentiality is required. The investigation division works in close cooperation with the prosecution division to ensure that all available and relevant evidence is gathered for consideration by the court.

Investigative activities are carried out in accordance with the highest international professional standards.

Prosecution Division

The prosecution division is responsible for presenting cases in court. It employs trial counsel, legal advisers and case managers with experience in complex cases in national jurisdictions and before international courts.

Trial counsel continuously test the evidence collected by the investigators to ensure its reliability and probative value at trial.

The prosecution division files detailed legal submissions before the tribunal, drafts indictments for confirmation by the pre-trial judge and coordinates with the other organs to ensure a fair and impartial trial and respect for due process.

The legal advisory and disclosure section advises the prosecutor on legal matters and manages the disclosure of documents for trial.

The trial section and appeals section prepare cases for trial and present them before the judges. The prosecutor is a party to the proceedings and also acts in his capacity as guarantor of the public interest.

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