STL Defense Chief Tells 'Fugitives' to Get Lawyer‎

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Francois Roux, the head of the Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, urged Tuesday four Hizbullah members indicted in the 2005 assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri to quickly consult a lawyer.

Those wanted by the STL, which last week handed Lebanese authorities four arrest warrants for the Hariri murder, are now fugitives from international law, Roux noted.

"As of the moment the arrest warrants are issued, whoever is charged is no longer a free person and becomes a fugitive," Roux told Agence France Presse in an interview during a visit to Beirut.

"My only advice to those charged is that they consult a lawyer as soon as possible. Now is the time for defence." he said.

"Their families, friends, communities can protect them, but ... the only person who can now free the charged of the charges, and again render them free individuals, is a lawyer," said Roux.

The tribunal last week issued a sealed indictment for the assassination of Hariri, along with arrest warrants for four Lebanese.

Lebanese officials have confirmed the four are operatives of Hizbullah, including Mustafa Badreddine, a brother-in-law of Hizbullah military commander Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

While Roux said he had come to Lebanon to be "close to those indicted," he denied he had been informed of the names on the arrest warrants.

He also urged anyone indicted by the STL -- the first international court with jurisdiction to try an act of terrorism -- to appoint a lawyer of their choice or contact his office, which had a list of 100 lawyers from 25 countries including Lebanon to provide defendants with court representation.

"The office of defense was set up to ensure defendants a fair trial, to give them arms in court equal to those of the prosecutor," he said, adding his "door is always open".

The STL has triggered a deep political crisis in Lebanon, leading to the collapse in January of the country's unity government.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday said he would never hand over the four members of his group, adding that the Netherlands-based court was heading for a trial in absentia.

The whereabouts of the four accused is unknown.

Nasrallah has repeatedly dismissed the tribunal as a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy against his Shiite group, charging that Israel itself was behind the February 14, 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.

Lebanon now has 30 days to find and arrest the four named in the warrants.

If no arrests are made, the court can publicize their names and call on the accused to surrender within a month, after which Roux can himself appoint lawyers from his office's list to represent defendants in absentia.

An absent defendant or his lawyer who appears before the tribunal at any point during or after the trial can also request a new trial. Defendants can also appear in court via video link.

Roux said he expected defense lawyers to begin building their cases by October and would need at least six months whether the accused came forward or not, noting the investigation leading to an indictment took six years.

While Roux ducked a question on whether he had been in contact with Hizbullah officials, he said he urged anyone with grievances against the STL to voice them before the court.

"I have heard that there are those who are contesting the credibility of the tribunal," he said. "One can criticize the tribunal in ... the press, but these debates must also be held in court.

"I have complete respect for political parties, which are necessary in any democratic society," he added. "Any party can make any declaration it wishes, that is their job.

"But at the end, individuals will be either sentenced or acquitted. It is the tribunal that will make this decision, and not political parties".

Comments 22
Default-user-icon ☞ more here (Guest) 05 July 2011, 16:21

Can Anybody here tell me really...

1- Are you willing to send "Lebanese" to be trial in front of a court that has outstanding behaviours (such as Lehmann accepting bribery, 97 computers sent to Israel, Cassini having bias inclination to Hezbollah's enemy).

2- Would you accept to believe that what the tribunal will do is Legitimate... 100%?

Why not unite to ask the tribunal, a body our government has been paying for (indirectly us the people), to give us proof, or At Least Respond to these allegations with Proof.

I want to believe in the Court, but it needs to give me reasons. We have no choice today but a Tribunal. But they're going to have to work to convince the people.

Default-user-icon G (Guest) 05 July 2011, 16:30

Yalla Chief.. they are on their way...just wait...hold on...300 more years...they are trying to dig a tunnel to the courtroom.

Lawyers with CV's printed on orange paper will run and beg for this, they want to lick Hassans sandals

Thumb thepatriot 05 July 2011, 16:38

The Tribunal said nothing yet. They did not release the indictment publically. It just needs to arrest 4 individuals and interrogate them. I am sure that if there is no proof against them, they will be released eventually, like the 4 Generals. So what's the problem here?
Who is Nasrallah to send us 3 scanned documents and make up theories and draw conclusions, when the tribunal has 300 people working on tens of thousands of documents, pictures, analysis, footage, etc...
Nasrallah wants to play the lawyer...his demo seemed very weak to me...pathetic really...
Seems to me that we have 4 Million Juges in Lebanon...

Missing joseph 05 July 2011, 16:43

@more here, Why don't you look beyond your limited contours and realize that you are not the center of the world after all. Let go of all this matchoism man. You are the little guy, play by the rules.
The name of the game is: Your are indicted, you go to court. Your defend yourself with all the proof you got. you prove your innocence in court not on TV, only than you will earn respect. Being a fugitive will not help your cause.

Default-user-icon Anon (Guest) 05 July 2011, 16:47

If the Tribunal "showed nothing yet", and you have the defendant that is "showing" proof that the tribunal "may" not be authentic, shouldn't that be taken into account?

Shouldn't the tribunal give counter argument... at least a response to these allegations?

Especially that the ones the tribunal is blaming, are Lebanese?!

Thumb thepatriot 05 July 2011, 16:54

@ Anon
He can show it all right... IN COURT!

Thumb 05 July 2011, 17:16

The media is not a court and is not a place to exchange evidence that cannot be examined.

It is in a court of law that each side presents its evidence and can question and poke holes in the other side's evidence.

Instead of taking Nasrallah's evidence for granted, let's question it. For example, look at Cassese's (not Cassini) record and what he stands for before making him biased.

Default-user-icon Anon (Guest) 05 July 2011, 17:54

@guys, compatriots, Israeli web lobbyists, Syrians, and the world

First I am Not Lebanese Shia but, I am Lebanese x.
What worries me, and should worry "every Lebanese", is that the Tribunal named 4 Lebanese names. Dosen't that worry you?

Does the fact that the ones they are accusing are Shia, and the people killed in Lebanon are from every Other sect?

It's a picture worth a thousand bullet. The same people that where in the Civil war are still in power today!

All I am saying is... Since we Paid for the Tribunal, as Clients, we Lebanese collectively, as Demanding Rigorous Proof on Everything.

Everything should be questioned, time is on our side, even if it takes 10 years.

Thumb bashir 05 July 2011, 18:03

We should demand evidence, that is what courts and trials are for. As others have said, the press (whish is basically sectarian) is not the place for hearings but the court.
These are not to be secret trials, the types they have in Syria but everything will be public the defense will have to opportunity to question each and every piece of evidence.
Honest people have nothing to fear.

Default-user-icon Brahmani (Guest) 05 July 2011, 18:32

The STL will soon need to hire their own lawyers to investigate and punish the corruptors, the extremely partial and the criminals working for it.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 05 July 2011, 19:33

the poor fugitives transported half a tonne of explosives from dahie to st georges,in a truck,under syrian moukhabarat and hizb revolutionary guards watch,so let's finish the game, ur buddy saado is out now.

Thumb shab 05 July 2011, 20:06

"But at the end, individuals will be either sentenced or acquitted. It is the tribunal that will make this decision, and not the filthy Shiite militia".

Default-user-icon Concerned Citizen (Guest) 05 July 2011, 21:45

…tells 'Fugitives' to get a bath! Your filth is so stinking up Dahyeh that people are beginning to believe a sewer pipe exploded.

Default-user-icon me (Guest) 05 July 2011, 22:10

Mowaten: what you are saying is fundamentally wrong. It is not by using a technical word such as RPE(rules of procedures and evidence) that you are convincing us that you did some serious research on the matter.

It is obvious that everyone will be watching such an international institution extremely closely, and everyone expects the highest level of professionalism from it. If all evidence is kept secret for the moment, it is expected and it is for obvious reasons (such as protecting witnesses for example).

Lebanese people are at cross roads and have a very difficult decision to make: Comply with international law and find a place in civilization or dig further into mediocrity

Missing peace 06 July 2011, 00:42

to BIGDIG: what do you think of this before accusing ONLY M14 for corruption?

"The Lebanese people have incurred catastrophic losses and the
Lebanese economy is devastated due largely to the corrupt
Syrian puppet regimes installed in power since the early 1990s."
(aoun at the us senate!)

who also took part in these gvt? no people from the present M8?

stop your propaganda and sweep in front of your door too... if you truly are looking for justice! hypocrit...

Default-user-icon jabal amel (Guest) 06 July 2011, 01:31

this guy is also on drugs. looks like whole cia/mossad/domestic traitors gang is on drugs. poor people. the days of usa empire will soon be numbered and these people won't have money to buy drugs any more. what will they do than?

Default-user-icon Muhsin (Guest) 06 July 2011, 08:04

I know Israeli generals are afraid to going to some European countries afraid of being arrested for war crimes. I guess the four defendants will be doing the same. The international community is tough.

Default-user-icon Muhsin (Guest) 06 July 2011, 08:11

The International criminal court has ruled against Israel for stealing occupied land by building an apartheid wall, and in the 1980's ruled against the USA for mining the harbors of Nicaragua. Do you know what happened to these international court rulings? Here is a clue, the same thing what is going to happen with this "court".

Default-user-icon Falanges (Guest) 06 July 2011, 08:54

TO MOWATAN THE UNEDUCATED: Nobody is convicting anyone. in a democrocy there are rights, laws, and courts. These four people are under arrest for the murder of hariri and co. when you are arrested you are innocent until you are proven guilty in a court of law(STL) So the hezbollah memebers who are not guilty yet, are not going to get hung as you say unless they are proven guilty of the crime. If the STL is corrupt or can prove they did not do the crime, they can use this as a defense and be dismissed of all charges brought against them. Now if they run like they are doing now, they will be considered fugitives in the eyes of the international community and will have to run forever and hide with your master nasrullah in his rat hole. maybe he's sick of his boyfriend and needs new penatration down in his hole.

Thumb thepatriot 06 July 2011, 10:50

Are you on drugs??

Default-user-icon me (Guest) 06 July 2011, 23:59

Ok Mowaten, let's stop the bshit and let's do it scientifically. Here is the RPE of the STL, can you please indicate the page number and the paragraph you are referring to? More precisely: where do you see that the accused can be convicted without being shown evidence?

I am ready to admit that i am wrong. Prove it!

For the moment, after reading the RPE i can confirm that the tribunal is based on the highest international standards of criminal justice.

RPE link:

Missing lebanononly 07 July 2011, 01:32

"Someone took a dump in the restroom and didn't flush! Who did it?!"

"Isreal did it!"