Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Having been established by an Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic (hereinafter “the Agreement”) pursuant to Security Council resolution 1664 (2006) of 29 March 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 Special Tribunal for Lebanon (hereinafter “the Special Tribunal”) shall function in accordance with the provisions of this Statute.
Jurisdiction and applicable law
Jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal
The Special Tribunal shall have jurisdiction over persons responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 resulting in the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and in the death or injury of other persons. If the Tribunal finds that other attacks that occurred in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005, or any later date decided by the Parties and with the consent of the Security Council, are connected in accordance with the principles of criminal justice and are of a nature and gravity similar to the attack of 14 February 2005, it shall also have jurisdiction over persons responsible for such attacks. This connection includes but is not limited to a combination of the following elements: criminal intent (motive), the purpose behind the attacks, the nature of the victims targeted, the pattern of the attacks (modus operandi) and the perpetrators.
Applicable criminal law
The following shall be applicable to the prosecution and punishment of the crimes referred to in article 1, subject to the provisions of this Statute:
(a) The provisions of the Lebanese Criminal Code relating to the prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism, crimes and offences against life and personal integrity, illicit associations and failure to report crimes and offences, including the rules regarding the material elements of a crime, criminal participation and conspiracy; and
(b) Articles 6 and 7 of the Lebanese law of 11 January 1958 on “Increasing the penalties for sedition, civil war and interfaith struggle”.
Individual criminal responsibility
1. A person shall be individually responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal if that person:
(a) Committed, participated as accomplice, organized or directed others to commit the crime set forth in article 2 of this Statute; or
(b) Contributed in any other way to the commission of the crime set forth in article 2 of this Statute by a group of persons acting with a common purpose, where such contribution is intentional and is either made with the aim of furthering the general criminal activity or purpose of the group or in the knowledge of the intention of the group to commit the crime.
2. With respect to superior and subordinate relationships, a superior shall be criminally responsible for any of the crimes set forth in article 2 of this Statute committed by subordinates under his or her effective authority and control, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such subordinates, where:
(a) The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information that clearly indicated that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;
(b) The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and
(c) The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.
3. The fact that the person acted pursuant to an order of a superior shall not relieve him or her of criminal responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Special Tribunal determines that justice so requires.
1. The Special Tribunal and the national courts of Lebanon shall have concurrent jurisdiction. Within its jurisdiction, the Tribunal shall have primacy over the national courts of Lebanon.
2. Upon the assumption of office of the Prosecutor, as determined by the Secretary-General, and no later than two months thereafter, the Special Tribunal shall request the national judicial authority seized with the case of the attack against Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others to defer to its competence. The Lebanese judicial authority shall refer to the Tribunal the results of the investigation and a copy of the court’s records, if any. Persons detained in connection with the investigation shall be transferred to the custody of the Tribunal.
3. (a) At the request of the Special Tribunal, the national judicial authority seized with any of the other crimes committed between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005, or a later date decided pursuant to article 1, shall refer to the Tribunal the results of the investigation and a copy of the court’s records, if any, for review by the Prosecutor;
(b) At the further request of the Tribunal, the national authority in question shall defer to the competence of the Tribunal. It shall refer to the Tribunal the results of the investigation and a copy of the court’s records, if any, and persons detained in connection with any such case shall be transferred to the custody of the Tribunal;
(c) The national judicial authorities shall regularly inform the Tribunal of the progress of their investigation. At any stage of the proceedings, the Tribunal may formally request a national judicial authority to defer to its competence.
Article 5 Non bis in idem
1. No person shall be tried before a national court of Lebanon for acts for which he or she has already been tried by the Special Tribunal.
2. A person who has been tried by a national court may be subsequently tried by the Special Tribunal if the national court proceedings were not impartial or independent, were designed to shield the accused from criminal responsibility for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal or the case was not diligently prosecuted.
3. In considering the penalty to be imposed on a person convicted of a crime under this Statute, the Special Tribunal shall take into account the extent to which any penalty imposed by a national court on the same person for the same act has already been served.
Article 6 Amnesty
An amnesty granted to any person for any crime falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal shall not be a bar to prosecution.
Organization of the Special Tribunal Article 7
Organs of the Special Tribunal
The Special Tribunal shall consist of the following organs:
(a) The Chambers, comprising a Pre-Trial Judge, a Trial Chamber and an Appeals Chamber;
(b) The Prosecutor;
(c) The Registry; and
(d) The Defence Office.
Composition of the Chambers
1. The Chambers shall be composed as follows:
(a) One international Pre-Trial Judge;
(b) Three judges who shall serve in the Trial Chamber, of whom one shall be a Lebanese judge and two shall be international judges;
(c) Five judges who shall serve in the Appeals Chamber, of whom two shall be Lebanese judges and three shall be international judges;
(d) Two alternate judges, one of whom shall be a Lebanese judge and one shall be an international judge.
2. The judges of the Appeals Chamber and the judges of the Trial Chamber, respectively, shall elect a presiding judge who shall conduct the proceedings in the Chamber to which he or she was elected. The presiding judge of the Appeals Chamber shall be the President of the Special Tribunal.
3. At the request of the presiding judge of the Trial Chamber, the President of the Special Tribunal may, in the interest of justice, assign the alternate judges to be present at each stage of the trial and to replace a judge if that judge is unable to continue sitting.
Qualification and appointment of judges
1. The judges shall be persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity, with extensive judicial experience. They shall be independent in the performance of their functions and shall not accept or seek instructions from any Government or any other source.
2. In the overall composition of the Chambers, due account shall be taken of the established competence of the judges in criminal law and procedure and international law.
3. The judges shall be appointed by the Secretary-General, as set forth in article 2 of the Agreement, for a three-year period and may be eligible for reappointment for a further period to be determined by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Government.
Powers of the President of the Special Tribunal
1. The President of the Special Tribunal, in addition to his or her judicial functions, shall represent the Tribunal and be responsible for its effective functioning and the good administration of justice.
2. The President of the Special Tribunal shall submit an annual report on the operation and activities of the Tribunal to the Secretary-General and to the Government of Lebanon.
Article 11 The Prosecutor
1. The Prosecutor shall be responsible for the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal. In the interest of proper administration of justice, he or she may decide to charge jointly persons accused of the same or different crimes committed in the course of the same transaction.
2. The Prosecutor shall act independently as a separate organ of the Special Tribunal. He or she shall not seek or receive instructions from any Government or from any other source.
3. The Prosecutor shall be appointed, as set forth in article 3 of the Agreement, by the Secretary-General for a three-year term and may be eligible for reappointment for a further period to be determined by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Government. He or she shall be of high moral character and possess the highest level of professional competence, and have extensive experience in the conduct of investigations and prosecutions of criminal cases.
4. The Prosecutor shall be assisted by a Lebanese Deputy Prosecutor and by such other Lebanese and international staff as may be required to perform the functions assigned to him or her effectively and efficiently.
5. The Office of the Prosecutor shall have the power to question suspects, victims and witnesses, to collect evidence and to conduct on-site investigations. In carrying out these tasks, the Prosecutor shall, as appropriate, be assisted by the Lebanese authorities concerned.
Article 12 The Registry
1. Under the authority of the President of the Special Tribunal, the Registry shall be responsible for the administration and servicing of the Tribunal.
2. The Registry shall consist of a Registrar and such other staff as may be required.
3. The Registrar shall be appointed by the Secretary-General and shall be a staff member of the United Nations. He or she shall serve for a three-year term and may be eligible for reappointment for a further period to be determined by the Secretary- General in consultation with the Government.
4. The Registrar shall set up a Victims and Witnesses Unit within the Registry. This Unit shall provide, in consultation with the Office of the Prosecutor, measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses, and such other appropriate assistance for witnesses who appear before the Special Tribunal and others who are at risk on account of testimony given by such witnesses.
The Defence Office
1. The Secretary-General, in consultation with the President of the Special Tribunal, shall appoint an independent Head of the Defence Office, who shall be responsible for the appointment of the Office staff and the drawing up of a list of defence counsel.
2. The Defence Office, which may also include one or more public defenders, shall protect the rights of the defence, provide support and assistance to defence counsel and to the persons entitled to legal assistance, including, where appropriate, legal research, collection of evidence and advice, and appearing before the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber in respect of specific issues.
Official and working languages
The official languages of the Special Tribunal shall be Arabic, French and English. In any given case proceedings, the Pre-Trial Judge or a Chamber may decide that one or two of the languages may be used as working languages as appropriate.
Rights of defendants and victims Article 15
Rights of suspects during investigation
A suspect who is to be questioned by the Prosecutor shall not be compelled to incriminate himself or herself or to confess guilt. He or she shall have the following rights of which he or she shall be informed by the Prosecutor prior to questioning, in a language he or she speaks and understands:
(a) The right to be informed that there are grounds to believe that he or she has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal;
(b) The right to remain silent, without such silence being considered in the determination of guilt or innocence, and to be cautioned that any statement he or she makes shall be recorded and may be used in evidence;
(c) The right to have legal assistance of his or her own choosing, including the right to have legal assistance provided by the Defence Office where the interests of justice so require and where the suspect does not have sufficient means to pay for it;
(d) The right to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand or speak the language used for questioning;
(e) The right to be questioned in the presence of counsel unless the person has voluntarily waived his or her right to counsel.
Rights of the accused
1. All accused shall be equal before the Special Tribunal.
2. The accused shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing, subject to measures ordered by the Special Tribunal for the protection of victims and witnesses.
3. (a) The accused shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the provisions of this Statute;
(b) The onus is on the Prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused;
(c) In order to convict the accused, the relevant Chamber must be convinced of the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
4. In the determination of any charge against the accused pursuant to this Statute, he or she shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:
(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he or she understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him or her;
(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his or her defence and to communicate without hindrance with counsel of his or her own choosing;
(c) To be tried without undue delay;
(d) Subject to the provisions of article 22, to be tried in his or her presence, and to defend himself or herself in person or through legal assistance of his or her own choosing; to be informed, if he or she does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him or her, in any case where the interests of justice so require and without payment by him or her in any such case if he or she does not have sufficient means to pay for it;
(e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him or her and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him or her;
(f) To examine all evidence to be used against him or her during the trial in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Special Tribunal;
(g) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand or speak the language used in the Special Tribunal;
(h) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or herself or to confess
5. The accused may make statements in court at any stage of the proceedings, provided such statements are relevant to the case at issue. The Chambers shall decide on the probative value, if any, of such statements.
Article 17 Rights of victims
Where the personal interests of the victims are affected, the Special Tribunal shall permit their views and concerns to be presented and considered at stages of the proceedings determined to be appropriate by the Pre-Trial Judge or the Chamber and in a manner that is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial. Such views and concerns may be presented by the legal representatives of the victims where the Pre-Trial Judge or the Chamber considers it appropriate.
Conduct of proceedings Article 18
1. The Pre-Trial Judge shall review the indictment. If satisfied that a prima facie case has been established by the Prosecutor, he or she shall confirm the indictment. If he or she is not so satisfied, the indictment shall be dismissed.
2. The Pre-Trial Judge may, at the request of the Prosecutor, issue such orders and warrants for the arrest or transfer of persons, and any other orders as may be required for the conduct of the investigation and for the preparation of a fair and expeditious trial.
Evidence collected prior to the establishment of the Special Tribunal
Evidence collected with regard to cases subject to the consideration of the Special Tribunal, prior to the establishment of the Tribunal, by the national authorities of Lebanon or by the International Independent Investigation Commission in accordance with its mandate as set out in Security Council resolution 1595 (2005) and subsequent resolutions, shall be received by the Tribunal. Its admissibility shall be decided by the Chambers pursuant to international standards on collection of evidence. The weight to be given to any such evidence shall be determined by the Chambers.
Commencement and conduct of trial proceedings
1. The Trial Chamber shall read the indictment to the accused, satisfy itself that the rights of the accused are respected, confirm that the accused understands the indictment and instruct the accused to enter a plea.
2. Unless otherwise decided by the Trial Chamber in the interests of justice, examination of witnesses shall commence with questions posed by the presiding judge, followed by questions posed by other members of the Trial Chamber, the Prosecutor and the Defence.
3. Upon request or proprio motu, the Trial Chamber may at any stage of the trial decide to call additional witnesses and/or order the production of additional evidence.
4. The hearings shall be public unless the Trial Chamber decides to hold the proceedings in camera in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
Powers of the Chambers
1. The Special Tribunal shall confine the trial, appellate and review proceedings strictly to an expeditious hearing of the issues raised by the charges, or the grounds for appeal or review, respectively. It shall take strict measures to prevent any action that may cause unreasonable delay.
2. A Chamber may admit any relevant evidence that it deems to have probative value and exclude such evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial.
3. A Chamber may receive the evidence of a witness orally or, where the interests of justice allow, in written form.
4. In cases not otherwise provided for in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, a Chamber shall apply rules of evidence that will best favour a fair determination of the matter before it and are consonant with the spirit of the Statute and the general principles of law.
Article 22 Trials in absentia
1. The Special Tribunal shall conduct trial proceedings in the absence of the accused, if he or she:
(a) Has expressly and in writing waived his or her right to be present;
(b) Has not been handed over to the Tribunal by the State authorities concerned;
(c) Has absconded or otherwise cannot be found and all reasonable steps have been taken to secure his or her appearance before the Tribunal and to inform him or her of the charges confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge.
2. When hearings are conducted in the absence of the accused, the Special Tribunal shall ensure that:
(a) The accused has been notified, or served with the indictment, or notice has otherwise been given of the indictment through publication in the media or communication to the State of residence or nationality;
(b) The accused has designated a defence counsel of his or her own choosing, to be remunerated either by the accused or, if the accused is proved to be indigent, by the Tribunal;
(c) Whenever the accused refuses or fails to appoint a defence counsel, such counsel has been assigned by the Defence Office of the Tribunal with a view to ensuring full representation of the interests and rights of the accused.
3. In case of conviction in absentia, the accused, if he or she had not designated a defence counsel of his or her choosing, shall have the right to be retried in his or her presence before the Special Tribunal, unless he or she accepts the judgement.
Article 23 Judgement
The judgement shall be rendered by a majority of the judges of the Trial Chamber or of the Appeals Chamber and shall be delivered in public. It shall be accompanied by a reasoned opinion in writing, to which any separate or dissenting opinions shall be appended.
Article 24 Penalties
1. The Trial Chamber shall impose upon a convicted person imprisonment for life or for a specified number of years. In determining the terms of imprisonment for the crimes provided for in this Statute, the Trial Chamber shall, as appropriate, have recourse to international practice regarding prison sentences and to the practice of the national courts of Lebanon.
2. In imposing sentence, the Trial Chamber should take into account such factors as the gravity of the offence and the individual circumstances of the convicted person.
Compensation to victims
1. The Special Tribunal may identify victims who have suffered harm as a result of the commission of crimes by an accused convicted by the Tribunal.
2. The Registrar shall transmit to the competent authorities of the State concerned the judgement finding the accused guilty of a crime that has caused harm to a victim.
3. Based on the decision of the Special Tribunal and pursuant to the relevant national legislation, a victim or persons claiming through the victim, whether or not such victim had been identified as such by the Tribunal under paragraph 1 of this article, may bring an action in a national court or other competent body to obtain compensation.
4. For the purposes of a claim made under paragraph 3 of this article, the judgement of the Special Tribunal shall be final and binding as to the criminal responsibility of the convicted person.
1. The Appeals Chamber shall hear appeals from persons convicted by the Trial Chamber or from the Prosecutor on the following grounds:
(a) An error on a question of law invalidating the decision;
(b) An error of fact that has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
2. The Appeals Chamber may affirm, reverse or revise the decisions taken by the Trial Chamber.
Article 27 Review proceedings
1. Where a new fact has been discovered that was not known at the time of the proceedings before the Trial Chamber or the Appeals Chamber and that could have been a decisive factor in reaching the decision, the convicted person or the Prosecutor may submit an application for review of the judgement.
2. An application for review shall be submitted to the Appeals Chamber. The Appeals Chamber may reject the application if it considers it to be unfounded. If it determines that the application is meritorious, it may, as appropriate:
(a) Reconvene the Trial Chamber;
(b) Retain jurisdiction over the matter.
Rules of Procedure and Evidence
1. The judges of the Special Tribunal shall, as soon as practicable after taking office, adopt Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the conduct of the pre-trial, trial and appellate proceedings, the admission of evidence, the participation of victims, the protection of victims and witnesses and other appropriate matters and may amend them, as appropriate.
2. In so doing, the judges shall be guided, as appropriate, by the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as by other reference materials reflecting the highest standards of international criminal procedure, with a view to ensuring a fair and expeditious trial.
Enforcement of sentences
1. Imprisonment shall be served in a State designated by the President of the Special Tribunal from a list of States that have indicated their willingness to accept persons convicted by the Tribunal.
2. Conditions of imprisonment shall be governed by the law of the State of enforcement subject to the supervision of the Special Tribunal. The State of enforcement shall be bound by the duration of the sentence, subject to article 30 of this Statute.
Pardon or commutation of sentences
If, pursuant to the applicable law of the State in which the convicted person is imprisoned, he or she is eligible for pardon or commutation of sentence, the State concerned shall notify the Special Tribunal accordingly. There shall only be pardon or commutation of sentence if the President of the Tribunal, in consultation with the judges, so decides on the basis of the interests of justice and the general principles of law.