Leidschendam, 13 March 2018 – The Special Tribunal for Lebanon submitted its ninth annual report to the United Nations Secretary-General and to the Government of Lebanon.
In the introduction, the STL President Judge Ivana Hrdličková said that the “Tribunal has accomplished key milestones and concrete progress during the reporting period, among which was the closing of the Prosecutor’s case-in-chief in the Ayyash et al. case and the presentation of evidence on behalf of the victims of the 14 February 2005 attack, which serves to remind us that ours is a tribunal dedicated to the pursuit of justice for victims of crimes within our jurisdiction and for the people of Lebanon at large”.
The annual report details the activities of the Tribunal from 1 March 2017 to 28 February 2018, its objectives for the coming year and highlights the achievements of the four organs: Chambers, Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Defence Office and Registry.
Chambers report that the trial proceedings in the Ayyash et al. case “have advanced towards finalization.” Meanwhile, following the Appeals Chamber’s decision on preliminary questions posed by the Pre-Trial Judge in case STL-17-07, the review of the indictment submitted by the Prosecutor, is underway before the Pre-Trial Judge.
The Prosecutor highlighted the considerable achievements by the Office of the Prosecutor during this period. The Prosecution completed presenting its evidence-in-chief in the Ayyash et al. case against the individuals accused of criminal responsibility for the attack against former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In a further significant development, the Prosecutor submitted a confidential indictment to the Pre-Trial Judge for confirmation on 21 July 2017. The report described the ongoing investigations and extensive other work behind the scenes in relation to all cases within the OTP's jurisdiction which contributed to the completion of the Prosecution case in chief and the submission of the indictment. Further, the report indicated that the Prosecutor has engaged in considerable planning for the future. His aim is to ensure that the OTP can meet the needs arising from the next stages of the proceedings in the Ayyash et al. case and, at the same time, is able to move forward quickly with pre-trial activities should the confidential indictment be confirmed. He has also created a separate multidisciplinary team, to ensure that there is a dedicated capacity to focus on the review and assessment of the other terrorist attacks that occurred in Lebanon which may potentially fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
The Defence Office reported on its continued support to the Defence teams in the Ayyash et al. case as well as its activities related to the legal submissions in connection with the confidential indictment. It provided operational and financial support, as well as legal assistance to all Defence Counsel and their teams in order to enable them to effectively represent the rights and interests of the accused in ongoing proceedings. It also highlighted its institutional work on promoting the rights of the Defence both within and outside the STL.
The Registry reported on the its ongoing multifaceted work done to provide effective support to and servicing of the judicial proceedings through language support, assistance to victims participating in the proceedings, support to and protection of witnesses, providing efficient administration of the Tribunal, raising awareness of the Tribunal’s work and engaging the public as well as securing continued political, financial and operational support for the Tribunal’s work.
President Hrdličková concluded that the STL’s primary objective is the expeditious and efficient completion of judicial activities.
The report is now available on the tribunal’s website.