STL Amends Rules of Procedure Pertaining to Excusal of Judges
The judges of the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon have approved at a plenary meeting amendments to the tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the court said in a statement on Monday.
“The amendments are designed to improve and streamline the Tribunal’s procedures,” the statement said.
“Specifically, they address the excusal and disqualification of Judges (Rule 25) and harmonizing the Rules with the Tribunal’s Host State Agreement (Rules 78 (C) & 103),” the STL added.
In accordance with Rule 5 (H), the amendments will enter into force seven days after their issuance today.
According to paragraph (A) of Rule 5, “a Judge may not sit in any case in which the Judge has a personal interest or concerning which the Judge has or has had any association which might affect or appear to affect the Judge’s impartiality.”
“A Party may apply to the President for the disqualification and withdrawal of a Judge
upon the grounds specified in paragraph (A),” the Rule stipulates.
It also says that “if the President is the Judge the subject of the application, the most senior uninvolved Judge, according to Rule 30 (B), shall assume the President’s responsibility under this Rule.”
The STL is probing the 2005 assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in a massive bombing that also killed 21 other people and wounded nearly 300.
The court is now trying five Hizbullah members in absentia over their alleged involvement in the murder.
The trial opened in The Hague in January 2014.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the court as a U.S.-Israeli scheme and vowed that the accused will never be found.