STL dismisses appeal, will proceed with trial in absentia

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Friday, November 2, 2012

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Thursday will go ahead with a trial in absentia against four men accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The defense lawyers had challenged a February 2012 decision to try the suspects in absentia after they failed to appear in court.

“The Appeals Chamber unanimously dismisses the four appeals,” the judicial decision read.

The trial chamber of the STL found that the accused – Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra – could not conceivably be unaware of the charges and proceedings against them, due to the media coverage surrounding the case.

The STL is the only international court since the Nuremberg tribunal to allow for in absentia trials, as these are deemed permissible under Lebanese law.

A tentative start date for the trial has been set to 25 March, 2013 by pre-trial Judge Daniel Fransen.

The STL was established in 2007 by the United Nations to investigate the death of Hariri two years prior. The tribunal has been at the center of disagreements between the March 8 and March 14 political coalitions regarding its neutrality and effectiveness.

(Al-Akhbar)

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