STL: Judges Decide to Continue Trial of Mustafa Badreddine

Mustafa Amine Badreddine

Mustafa Amine Badreddine

The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon decided on Wednesday 1 June that the trial in the Ayyash et al. case will continue pending the receipt of further information from the government of Lebanon regarding the death of the Accused Mustafa Amine Badreddine. In a press statement the STL explained that the Judges do not believe that sufficient evidence has yet been presented to convince them that the death of Mr Badreddine has been proved.

Badreddine is being tried in absentia for his alleged role in assassinating Lebanon’s former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in 2005.

Media reported last month that the senior Hezbollah commander was killed in a major explosion at Damascus airport in Syria. Hezbollah confirmed Badreddine’s death and held a massive funeral attended by thousands of the party’s officials and supporters, including Badreddine’s brother. Badreddine’s family also declared the death of their relative.

However, the STL Trial Chamber noted that the Prosecution has outstanding requests for assistance sent to the government of Lebanon seeking further information relating to what happened to Mr Badreddine and is awaiting responses.

The standards for establishing the death of a defendant are high under international law. The International Criminal Court did not recognise Ghadafi’s passing until they had received a death certificate, despite a number of widely disseminated videos depicting his violent end at the hands of rebel forces.

Judge Micheline Braidy of the Trial Chamber described in a dissenting opinion that she was convinced that Mr Mustafa Amine Badreddine was indeed deceased.