The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: A Court “Off the Shelf” for a Divided Country

in The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals
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Abstract

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is the most recently established international criminal tribunal. Controversially created by the UN Security Council in 2007 amid rising political tensions in the country, it is designed to investigate a number of politically motivated killings, including the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. It shares many characteristics of other hybrid (or “internationalized”) criminal tribunals, especially the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which facilitated its speedy establishment. But it breaks new ground as an international effort to specifically end impunity for terrorist acts. This article argues that in many respects, the legal framework of the Special Tribunal distills the “best practices” of prior tribunals. At the same time, the debate over its creation and its chances to assist the peace process in Lebanon continues.

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