Justice Sir David Baragwanath talks about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

17 April 2014
Baragwanath event

The work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its contribution to the rule of law was the subject of an address by Justice Sir David Baragwanath who spoke to staff and students of the Law School and members of the public in February.

With long experience in New Zealand and in the Pacific as Queen’s Counsel and then as a trial and appellate judge, Sir David is the elected President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon based in The Hague. The Tribunal was established in 2009, with the primary mandate of holding trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack on 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri.

Explaining how the Tribunal fits into the historical and contemporary landscape of international criminal tribunals, Sir David spoke movingly about how important the Tribunal is for the people of Lebanon and how it is assisting that country come to terms with its legacy of civil war. In his address, Sir David reviewed a number of complex legal issues that the Tribunal has canvassed in its work. These issues range from questions about the source and the scope of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to prosecute those accused of the 2005 attack, to whether the Tribunal can conduct trials in absentia, the rights of victims, and the legal definition of terrorism.

Sir David said the Tribunal operated within a civil law frameworkand common lawyers were sometimes surprised by its answers to such questions. However, he said that the jurisprudence of the Tribunal was an important contribution to international criminal law, as well as to international institutional law and to domestic lawyers more generally.
For more about the work of the Tribunal here: www.stl-tsl.org/

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