Last Sunday March 1 2009 the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) launched its proceedings, 4 years after the political murder of Rafiq Hariri in Beirout.

The Tribunal is based upon an Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1664 (2006), which responded to the request of the Government of Lebanon to establish a tribunal of an international character to try all those who are found responsible for the terrorist crime which killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others.

The Security Council decided ( SC Res 1757 (2007) ) to bring the provisions for the establishment of the STL on 10 June 2007 under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Special Tribunal shall function in accordance with the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Its 30 articles treat the jurisdiction and applicable law (Lebanese Criminal Code) , concurrent jurisdiction, non bis in idem, the organization of the tribunal, the rights of defendants and victims and the conduct of proceedings.

Several issues are at stake, a.o. art. 52 of the Lebanese Constitution, which asks for approval by the Chamber of Deputies before ratification of international treaties, the linkage with other attacks, the legal nature of the STL and the selection of the judges.

The history of Lebanon is loaded with political assassinations and horrific crimes in a culture of impunity. Let us hope that this very special tribunal will show how the rule of law can prevail for all parties by not acting as a political instument and so be an example for Lebanon and the whole region.

See all articles in our catalogue concerning the STL here.

Agreement, Statute and all SC Resolutions can be found on the STL website.

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