Beirut-The Special Tribunal for Lebanon adjourned on Thursday the proceedings in the trial of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri against the backdrop of differences in the viewpoint of the Trial Chamber and the attorneys for Mustafa Badreddine.
The lawyers have asked for a suspension of trial sessions pending “enough evidence” on the so-called Hezbollah’s claims that Badreddine was killed in Syria last month.
Badreddine is among five suspects being tried in absentia in Hariri’s assassination in a truck explosion on the Beirut seafront on February 2005.
Hezbollah has refused to hand them over to the court accusing the trial of being a conspiracy by Israel and the United States.
During a session held on Wednesday the Prosecutor said that he has asked Lebanon’s general prosecutor for evidence on Badreddine’s death, STL spokesperson Wajed Ramadan told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
“The Lebanese judiciary is exerting all efforts to send the required answer to the STL Prosecutor,” she said, without explaining what the required documents are to prove Badreddine’s death.
Meanwhile, the head of the Trial Chamber on Thursday adjourned proceedings for the week, and gave the counsel for Badreddine 24 hours from receipt of the court’s written decision to file their appeal.
The Defense “announced during the session that it won’t be able to defend the interests of Mr. Badreddine out of its conviction that the accused is dead,” Ramadan told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Defense said “the continuation of the trial contradicts the ethics of their career,” Ramadan stated.
The lawyers told the Court that they will appeal a ruling finding insufficient evidence Badreddine was killed.
In an oral decision issued on Wednesday, the Trial Chamber decided that trial in the Ayyash et al. case will continue pending the receipt of further information from the government of Lebanon regarding the death of Badreddine. The Judges do not believe that sufficient evidence has yet been presented to convince them that the death of Badreddine has been proved.
The Trial Chamber noted that the Prosecution has outstanding requests for assistance sent to the government of Lebanon seeking further information relating to what happened to Badreddine and is awaiting responses.
The three Judges who constitute the Trial Chamber have made this decision by majority, with one dissenting opinion.
The Trial Chamber will also review any additional material and re-evaluate the material already submitted in due course. A fully-reasoned written decision will follow as soon as practicable.