STL Does Not Have Jurisdiction for Contempt Cases Against Legal Persons

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Last week, the Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri issued a Decision on a Motion Challenging the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s jurisdiction. The motion was submitted by the Defence for NEW TV S.A.L and Karma Hohamed Tahsin Al Khayat and questioned whether the Tribunal could hear cases of contempt and obstructions against the proper administration of justice by legal persons (i.e. corporate entities).

The Contempt Judge ruled that although the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) does not have jurisdiction to hear cases dealing with obstructions of justice against legal persons, it does retain jurisdiction to hear cases dealing with offences against the administration of justice against natural persons. This was held to be consistent not only with international case law, but also with Rule 60bis of the STL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Last year, information relating to confidential witnesses has been broadcasted in certain medias.

Following these events, the Registrar of the Tribunal appointed an amicus curiae. Based on reports by the amicus, the Contempt Judge concluded that there was prima facie evidence that justified proceedings for contempt.

Two journalists and two media organisations have been subsequently charged with contempt before the Tribunal.

Book Launch – “The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Law and Practice”

Special Tribunal for Lebanonby Doughty Street Chambers International

Date: 17 June 2014, 18:00 – 20:00

Venue: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sophialaan 10, 2514 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst

Speakers:

  • Amal Alamuddin, Barrister, Doughty Street Chamber
  • Norman Farrell, Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
  • John Jones QC, Barrister, Doughty Street Chamber, Defence Counsel at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
  • Sir Keir Starmer KCB, QC, Barrister, Doughty Street Chamber, Former Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales

On 17 June 2014 The Hague Institute for Global Justice will host the book launch of “The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Law and Practice”.

This book provides a full analytical overview of the establishment and functioning of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the newest and most controversial of the UN-sponsored international criminal courts.

The Tribunal is the UN’s first attempt at addressing terrorism in an international criminal court, and the first attempt to set up international trials following crimes committed in the Middle East region.

The court’s narrow mandate and unique procedures have led many to question what kind of precedent it will set in a volatile region. This book looks at how the court was established, its foundational principles based on the Statute of the International Criminal Court and Lebanese domestic law, and the possible further development of its case law.

Registration for this event is required. In order to reserve your place, please RSVP to events@doughtystreet.co.uk or contact Jennifer Noone or Furhana Mallick on +44 (0)20 7 404 1313.

STL Summons Journalists for Contempt

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Two journalists and two media organisations have been charged with contempt before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Karma Mohamed Tahsin al Khayat from Al-Jadeed TV, as well as the station’s parent company New TV S.A.L., have been summoned to appear before the STL on two counts of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice. Ibrahim Mohamed Al Amin from Al Akhbar, as well as the newspaper’s parent company Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. have been summoned on one count of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice. The accused are being charged under Rule 60 bis (A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and all the charges relate to the Ayyash et al. case.

Last year, information relating to confidential witnesses has been broadcasted in certain medias.

Following these events, the Registrar of the Tribunal appointed an amicus curiae. Based on reports by the amicus, the Contempt Judge concluded that there was prima facie evidence that justify proceedings for contempt.

In his decision, the Contempt Judge clarified that publishing purported names of witnesses may amount to interference with the administration of justice, because it reduces the confidence of both actual witnesses and the public, in the ability and the will of the Tribunal to protect its witnesses.

The accused may choose whether to appear at the court in person or by video-link.  The initial appearances of the accused are scheduled for 13 May 2014.