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Ayyash et al. (STL-11-01)

Ayyash et al. (STL-11-01)


The Case

The Ayyash et al. case concerns the 14 February 2005 attack in Beirut that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, and injured 226 more. The Accused currently facing trial in absentia are Messrs Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra.  They are charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, along with a number of other related charges.

Procedural History

The Prosecutor submitted the original indictment against Messrs Ayyash, Oneissi, Sabra, and Mustafa Amine Badreddine to the Pre-Trial Judge on 17 January 2011. It was subsequently amended due to a number of case developments, including the joinder with Mr Merhi’s case and the death of Mr Badreddine (with amendments occurring on 11 March, 6 May, and 10 June 2011; 7 March 2014; and 12 July 2016).

The original indictment and accompanying arrest warrants were transmitted to the Lebanese authorities on 30 June 2011 and subsequently sent to Interpol. These were retransmitted as necessary when the indictment was amended. After determining that the Accused had absconded and did not wish to participate in the trial, the Trial Chamber decided to hold the trial in absentia.

On 16 January 2014, the Ayyash et al. trial opened with statements by the Prosecution, the Legal Representative of Victims, and Defence counsel for Messrs Badreddine and Oneissi.  On 11 February 2014, the Trial Chamber ordered the joinder of the Ayyash et al. case with the Merhi case.  Trial proceedings were adjourned to allow Mr Merhi’s Counsel adequate time to prepare for trial.  The trial resumed on 18 June 2014.

On 11 July 2016, following reports that Mustafa Amine Badreddine had been killed, the Appeals Chamber determined that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that he was deceased. The Appeals Chamber ordered that the proceedings against him be terminated, without prejudice to resuming them should he be found alive in the future.  An amended indictment was filed the following day.

Current Status

The Prosecution is currently presenting its evidence. The Prosecution’s case-in-chief has three components:

  • The forensic evidence on the cause of the explosion of 14 February 2005 and evidence related to the death and injury of the victims of this attack (completed);
  • The evidence of the preparatory acts undertaken by the Accused and their co-conspirators in 2004-2005 to prepare for the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri (completed); and
  • The evidence concerning the identity of the Accused and their respective roles in the attack (in progress).

Following the conclusion of the Prosecution’s case, the Legal Representative of Victims and the Defence teams will have the opportunity to present their respective cases.

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