The first public session of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was held on 16 January 2014, at The Hague.
As it’s name indicates, this court is special, meaning that it isn’t a court in the legal sense of the word. As specified by the then Secretary-General of the United-Nations, Kofi Annan: "It is not a subsidiary organ of the UN, nor is it an element of the Lebanese judicial system."
The STL was created to investigate the 14 February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and several other political attacks in Lebanon. It receives 60 million euros a year mainly from Saudi Arabia, the United-States, France, the United-Kingdom and Lebanon.
The first session of this special court is being held nearly 10 years after the facts. Indeed, it’s history has been punctuated by all sorts of plots and manipulations, all of which failed one after the other. The STL had been initially conceived to indict, judge and sentence the Presidents of Lebanon and Syria, Émile Lahoud and Bashar al-Assad. Thus, four Lebanese Generals were arrested and spent four years in prison for for nothing (Moustafa Hamdane, Jamil Sayyed, Ali Hajj and Raymond Azar). However, the entire setup engineered by Washington and Tel-Aviv suddenly crumbled when it was revealed that all the witnesses had been paid to give fake testimonies. The chief investigator, German judge Detlev Mehlis, resigned in shame.
Subsequently, the STL changed it’s staff and mission several times. It first sought a way incriminating Hezbollah, then Iran. In the current context of a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, it would seem that it’s back to accusing Hezbollah.
The Special Tribunal will be accusing 5 members of the Lebanese resistance (Moustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra) and, contrary to the principles of international law, will try them in absentia. It will solely rely on circumstantial evidence, including telephone calls, even though the members of Hezbollah systematically use closed networks (in other words, only for calls between members). The STL will overlook the evidence provided by Hezbollah that Israeli drones were monitoring Rafic Hariri’s movements during the weeks preceding his assassination, but also the evidence related to the crime scene itself in the days leading up to and including the day of the crime.
The STL will defend the theory of the booby-trapped van explosion, even though its attempt to reconstruct the scene failed dismally, and that Thierry Meyssan was able to demonstrate that a nano-technology weapon was used, to which Hezbollah could have had no access .