Journal Article

Some Innovations in the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Cécile Aptel

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 5, issue 5, pages 1107-1124
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
Some Innovations in the Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

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The Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon contains several remarkable innovations. One major novelty is its mandate. While its subject matter jurisdiction includes terrorism, this is defined solely on the basis of Lebanese law. It does not cover any international crime, but exclusively offences defined under the Lebanese Penal Code. Unusually for a court of international character, its activities could be limited to a single case: the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed Rafiq Hariri and 22 others; the Special Tribunal will try other cases only if they are found to be connected to this attack. As its jurisdiction mirrors the mandate of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission, the Statute of the Special Tribunal contains original provisions regulating its relationship with this body, as well as with the Lebanese judicial authorities, which enjoy concurrent competence. Other important innovations concern the applicable procedural law, which includes provisions concerning a pre-trial judge, the role of the judges in conducting the hearings, the participation of victims in proceedings, and the possibility of holding trials in absentia. These latter aspects are all characteristic of Romano Germanic criminal systems, and reflect the intention of the drafters to draw up a more efficient international criminal procedure.

Journal Article.  8689 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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