International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)

The current political crisis in Lebanon is impacting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) from creating a cohesive communications strategy for the commission. STL suffers from multiple setbacks: information leaks to the media, lack of public approval/recognition of its legitimacy, and an aggressive regime, Hezbollah, as one of the accused of the crime of interest. The initial investigation of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was led by the Detlev Mehlis investigation commission, claiming that Syria was responsible for Hariri’s death. Critics of the STL claim that the commission has not established itself as an independent judicial body, separate of the Mehlis conclusions. Hasbani points out Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah comments that Israel was to blame and the lack of action from the STL, “leaving the public with the impression that it did not consider the idea that Israel could be responsible for Hariri’s death.” STL reputation was further weakened by the release of suspects in April 2009, detained by a previous commission;  the lack of explanation by the commission made the release negative instead of a positive  opportunity to show improvements in the investigation. The political climate in Lebanon inhibits the commissions ability to investigate Hezbollah leaders without the fear of severe backlash.


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