STL delivers verdict over former PM Rafic Hariri’s assassination

Felicity Salina, International Law Officer

The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) delivered its judgement on Tuesday 18 August, in the case of Ayyash et al. The proceedings concerned four individuals involved in the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Rafic Baha El Deen Al Hariri.

The 2,600-page judgement provides a detailed assessment of all the evidence that propped up the Prosecution’s case. The Chamber found one of the defendants, Salim Jamil Ayyash, guilty of partaking in the “red cell phone network” implicated in the assassination plot. The remaining three defendants – Assad Sabra, Hassan Oneissi, and Hassan Habib Merei – were acquitted based on insufficient evidence.

Presiding judge, David Re, stated during the oral delivery of the judgement that the attack was “committed for political and not personal reasons”. Nevertheless, the Chamber refrained from attributing the attack to either the Hezbollah or the Syrian government. The judge proceeded to express his hope that the verdict would bring “some form of closure” to the families of the victims.

In response to the pronouncement, a spokesperson to the European Union released a statement affirming the organization’s support of the enforcement of the rule of law at the international level. “The European Union reaffirms its strong partnership with Lebanon and remains committed to its sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence,” it added.

Read the full public version of the Trial Judgement here: https://www.stl-tsl.org/crs/assets/Uploads/20200818-F3839-PUBLIC-Full-Judgement-Annexes-FILED-EN-WEB-Version-v0.2.pdf