The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Unique Beginnings, Its Political Opposition and Role as Model for Future Ad Hoc Criminal Tribunals for Terrorism Prosecution
18 Sw. J. Int'l. L. (Forthcoming 2012)
16 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2011 Last revised: 25 Aug 2012
Date Written: July 22, 2011
This article suggests that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in many respects can serve as a model for future ad hoc international tribunals for the prosecution of terrorism. The article discusses the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and the investigation that followed, leading to the tribunal’s formation. After this background, the formation of the tribunal is analyzed. Initially designed as a hybrid international tribunal based on a treaty between the United Nations and Lebanon, the tribunal was ultimately established unilaterally by the United Nations Security Council following the failure of the Lebanese government to approve the treaty. The article then discusses the political divisions in Lebanon and the power of Hezbollah’s opposition to the tribunal’s work and what impact, if any, this may have on the tribunal. Within this background framework the article then discusses the unique characteristics of the tribunal, including its mandate for the prosecution of terrorism, the first international tribunal of this nature, as well as the application of Lebanese substantive law regarding the definitions of terrorism and the application of international procedural standards. Finally, the article offers a critique of the tribunal as a model for future ad hoc international tribunal prosecutions of terrorism, arguing that Hezbollah’s power serves as a cautionary tale to the international community because of the group’s opposition, from within the government, to the tribunals work. However, the unique legal framework with its application of domestic legal definitions of terrorism combined with internationally recognized procedural standards, can serve as a model to be duplicated in future tribunals.
Keywords: Public International Law, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Ad Hoc Tribunal, Terrorism, United Nations, STL
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation