STL Prosecution Shows Confidence as Trial Chamber Foils Defense's Attempt at Procrastination
The Hague - Naharnet Exclusive
From the very first minutes of the opening session of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon trials in The Hague, the strategies of the court's competing organs became evident.
As soon as Trial Chamber Presiding Judge David Re announced that the first three days will be dedicated to the demonstration that will be presented by the Prosecution and will be followed by an intervention from the victims' representatives and another from the Defense, head of Defense Office Francois Roux requested to make a statement, in what resembled an interruption of Prosecutor Norman Farrell's presentation.
Roux asked Judge Re to allow him to make an intervention pertaining to the procedural aspect, noting that the Lebanese penal code, which is endorsed by the STL, permits the filing of preliminary pleadings related to procedural matters.
Prominent legal sources pointed out that Roux's decision to resort to the tactic known as “preliminary pleadings” in the Lebanese judicial system reflected the strategy that will be implemented by the Defense, which is based on procrastination, postponement and delaying the tribunal's procedures.
Judge Re's reaction was decisive as he stated that the procedural issues were sufficiently discussed throughout long pre-trial sessions that were held over the past few months. He noted that he had already declared that the first presentation would be made by the Prosecution, which will be followed by that of the victims' representatives and then the Defense.
Re added that the Defense would then be able to say whatever it wants, be it related to form or to content.
The legal sources who are following up on the work of the STL said Re's decisive response to the Defense's strategy was indicative of the court judges' own plan of action, which is based on firmness and resoluteness in carrying on with the trials according to the decided measures, in a bid to unveil the truth away from all forms of procrastination, delay and betting on time, things that would harm the court's credibility and the seriousness of its work.
As for the Prosecution's strategy, it turned out from the first day that is based on "self-confidence," the thing that was expressed by Prosecutor Norman Farrell and his team, who distributed roles among each other and took turns during the demonstration, each according to his competence.
Farrell was responsible for exhibiting details pertaining to the indictment and the accused while his assistant Alexander Milne continued the presentation in its part that is related to evidence and criminal reports. Their fellow Prosecution counsel Graeme Cameron then took center stage in an exhaustive demonstration of the details of the telecom data evidence.
Simple indications showed the Prosecution's determination to abide by the deadlines. In response to a question from the tribunal's president, the Prosecution demanded that the Friday session begin at 9:30 a.m. instead of 10:00 a.m. so that it can finish its presentation according to the timeframe set by the court.
Also on Friday, the representatives of the victims will begin their interventions and the sessions dedicated to demonstrating the case will end on Tuesday ahead of hearing the testimonies of the Prosecution's witnesses starting Wednesday.