The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was set up in 2007, under UN auspices to try those involved in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. The Tribunal seeks the perpetrators not of mass murder or crimes against humanity but of a single assassination termed a “heinous terrorist act”. The Tribunal has generated unprecedented tension, mistrust and prolonged crises in government ever since its controversial ratification by the UN Security Council in 2007. It has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in post-civil war Lebanon. This article argues that the Tribunal is an internationalisation of a domestic political conflict in a deeply divided country, whose judiciary is unable to hold perpetrators accountable; too divided to conduct an impartial inquiry; and too weak to reach credible verdicts. The criminal inquiry was instigated by a local call for justice, pursued by regional hegemons (the USA, the UK and France) and imposed by the international community (the UN, the EU and the Quartet) in an attempt to end impunity. The troubled judicial process was supported by sections of civil society; yet once established, the Tribunal was driven by international actors and, owing to its apparent politicisation, the role of local actors was weakened.
Special Issue: "Drivers of Justice"
Skaar, Elin and Astri Suhrke
Also in this volume:
- Drivers of Justice after Violent Conflict: An Introduction
Skaar, Elin and Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm
- A Conflict Does Not Rot: State and Civil Society Responses to Civil War Offences in Mozambique
Igreja, Victor and Elin Skaar
Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for revenue generation in poor African countries
Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Ole Therkildsen
Too big to fault? Effects of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Norwegian exports to China and foreign policy
International Political Science Review
The conservation-corruption conundrum: Understanding everyday relationships between rangers and communities
The politics of refugee relief: UNRWA and the ongoing funding crisis
Kjersti G. Berg and Jørgen Jensehaugen
Understanding the inferno on Lesbos: – We need new perspectives on migration to solve this situation