The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has operated from 2009 – present.

Founding Documents

  • The assassination of Rafik Hariri and the attack that killed 21 others is seen as a major driver in the establishment of the court. In 2005, a fact finding mission dispatched by the Secretary General and led by Irish Deputy Police Commissioner Peter FitzGerald began its investigation.
  • The Mission delivered a report in March 2005, recommending an independent international investigation into the attack. Lebanon confirmed it would cooperate with the investigation commission.
  • In March 2006, UNSCR 1664 led to the Secretary General consulting with the Lebanese government on the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for the February 2005 attack.
  • In 2007, the Lebanese government signed an agreement for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, but the Prime Minister said that the Speaker refused to convene parliament and the agreement could not be ratified.
  • Because of the political impasse, the Security Council implemented the agreement through UNSCR 1757 in May 2007, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The agreement and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Statute would enter into force in June unless Lebanon informed the UN that it complied with the legal requirements for its force of entry. The political stalemate didn’t resolve, so the agreement came into force on June 10, 2007.
  • The UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIC) had mandate over these issues until the tribunal began in February 2009.


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 Rafik 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.

The STL has subject matter jurisdiction over 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.

The STL and the National Courts of Lebanon shall have concurrent jurisdiction, but the STL shall have primacy over the national courts for the subject matters outlined in the statute.

Status of Cases

  • Ayyash et al. (STL-11-01): Suspects in this case are facing charges relates to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the killing of others on February 14, 2005. The indictment was confirmed on June 28, 2011. The accused currently facing trial in absentia are Messrs Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assan Hassan Sabra.
  • The tribunal has established jurisdiction over three attacks relating to Messrs Marwan Hamadeh, George Hawi, and Elias El Murr. These cases are currently being investigated.
  • Two individuals and two media companies were charged with contempt and obstruction of justice before the STL in relation to media reports containing information about witnesses. Ms Karma Moahmed Tashin Al Khayat and Al Jadeed SAL/New TV SAL were acquitted. Ibrahim Mohammed Ali Al Amin and Akhbar Beirut SAL were found guilty and fined.
  • In the Matter of El Sayed Lebanese authorities detained four generals, Messrs Jamil Mohamad Amin El Sayed, Ali Salah El Dine El Hajj, Raymond Fouad Azar, and Mostafa Fehmi Hamdan, in connection with the investigation into the 14 February 2005 attack. On April 29, 2008, the STL Pre-Trial Judge determined hat there was no cause to hold the four generals and ordered their immediate release.
    • Since his release, Mr El Sayed has sought the disclosure of documents related to his case.
    • There was an appeals process related to which documents should be classified. The prosecutor was directed to conduct regular risk assessments to determine whether further documents should be disclosed.
  • In the Matter of El Hajj, Ali Salah El Dine El Hajj wrote to STL president requesting copies of proceedings. Pre trial chamber determined he had no standing.
  • The tribunal issued 9 indictments:
    • Salim Ayyash – fugitive, trial began on January 16, 2014
    • Mustafa Badreddine – died on May 13, 2016, proceedings terminated on July 12, 2016
    • Hussein Oneissi – fugitive, trial began on January 16, 2014
    • Assad Sabra – fugitive, trial began on January 16, 2014
    • Hassan Mehri – fugitive, trial began on June 18, 2014
    • Akhbar Beirut S.A.L – sentenced to a 6000 Euro fine
    • Ibrahim al-Amin – sentenced to a 20,000 Euro fine
    • Al Jadeed S.A.L / New TV S.A.L – acquitted on September 18, 2015
    • Karma Khayat – aquitted on March 6, 2016

Literature Review


Hybrid Court Diagrams-Special Tribunal for Lebanon