Lebanon tribunal to hold Hariri charges hearing

21st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon said Friday its appeals chamber will sit on February 7 to mull over charges of terrorism and murder drafted for the 2005 killing of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

A "public hearing will take place on February 7, 2011" to discuss pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen's questions to the appeals chamber about certain criminal definitions in the indictment, said a scheduling order of the court.

Fransen is tasked with confirming the charges in the indictment filed under seal by prosecutor Daniel Bellemare on Monday, and is allowed to ask the appeals judges questions of a legal nature in the process of doing so.

Among other things, Fransen has asked the appeals judges whether international law must be taken into account when defining the crime of terrorism, and whether a person can be tried for premeditated murder for the deaths of bystanders.

"These issues are complex and deserve careful consideration," said Friday's order scheduling a hearing.

"It is imperative, in the interest of justice, that they be treated by the appeals chamber as expeditiously as possible so that the pre-trial judge may be in a position to confirm or dismiss counts from the indictment without delay."

The hearing, from 0800 GMT to 1600 GMT on February 7, will include submissions by the prosecutor and the tribunal's defence office, created to protect the rights of defendants.

© 2011 AFP

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