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International Tribunal for Lebanon

Presentation by Karim Jel' Mufti (Beirut Arab University) "International Tribunal for Lebanon: Problems and Prospects" within the framework of "Human Rights" Seminar (58-60 Galernaya Street).

Since 1990, Lebanon ended its bloody civil war and failed to achieve elementary forms of Justice whether to the victims of the conflict or their families. 150.000 persons were killed, 200.000 were mutilated and injured, thousands remain missing and their families continue to demand information on their whereabouts from former war lords who are today in power. Their demands went ignored and no formal reconciliation system was implemented. Quite the opposite, at the end of the civil war, the Parliament passed an amnesty law to pardon all crimes committed during the conflict. No effective process was planned nor any form of justice sought in the name of peace and stability. Amnesty gave way to Amnesia in which each community could "forget" but without "forgiving".

This paper tackles the sensitive issue of Transitional Justice in Lebanon after the war and its consequences on the legal system and social fabric, especially in light of the recent creation of the first ever international tribunal for terrorist crimes in 2007 through the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The latter was set up to prosecute and judge suspects of killing former prime minister Rafic Hariri and has quickly turned into political confrontation between the different political formations in Lebanon. The paper will hence address different issues related to the STL, how it is situated in regards to the local justice system in the country,and in regards to other forms of international justice, along with the momentum it has created and the difficulties and challenges it needs to deal with in a highly complex situation for a very complex domain called Justice.