The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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November 11, 2016

The Daily Star-Prosecution accuses defense of slowing progress at Special Tribunal for Lebanon, November 11 , 2016

BEIRUT: Senior prosecution counselors went head-to-head with the defense counsel Thursday at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The two parties argued over whether to recover old evidence from the investigation into the 2005 bombing in Beirut that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others.
Defense counsel Guenael Mettraux opened the morning session with a request to reconsider phone calls from the family of Ahmad Abu Adass in the months leading up to the attack.
Abu Adass, a Palestinian living in Beirut who came into the spotlight following the assassination when a videotape of him was discovered immediately following the blast. The footage showed the young man declaring to avenge “innocent martyrs who were killed by the security forces of the infidel Saudi regime.”
Abu Adass was initially at the center of the investigation as the video implicated him as the suicide bomber. Ultimately forensic investigations established that Abu Adass was not the man driving the truck that killed Hariri and he is not one of the five men standing trial in absentia for orchestrating the assassination conspiracy.
Mettraux’s requests to reinvestigate incoming and outgoing phone calls from the Abu Adass household were met with strong resistance from the prosecution.
“Essentially when we get to a point where a particular subject is exhausted ... it gives you the option to direct the party to get new material,” senior prosecution counsel Alexander Milne said. “[After] the search of the Abu Adass household, there was not enough evidence there to put him on trial,” Milne added.
The tribunal officially opened on March 1, 2009, and has extended far beyond its original three year mandate. Over the ensuing years, prosecution and defense counselors have brought in a number of witnesses, many who have testified multiple times. Over time, witness’ memories have faded and new testimonies have been relatively unproductive, only adding to the reams of paperwork handled by the Tribunal.
“The problem we are struggling with at present is the attempt to add documents to the prosecution case at this point.” Milne explained in a plea to deny Mettraux’s requests. “We would drown the trial chamber in paperwork if we tried to get everything in.”
The session descended into an exchange of barbs between Milne and Mettraux. “He wants to expound a theory, and not actually give proper evidence to support to it,” Milne said. “As the English say, he wants to have his cake and eat it do.”
Mettraux responded in kind, saying, “I’m deeply saddened that I won’t get a job with [the prosecution]. We still welcome Mr. Milne to take a job on this side.”
Defense counsel Mohamed Aouini, representing the interests of Salim Jamil Ayyash, added his voice to Mettraux’s in an attempt to move the proceedings forward.
“I do not wish to reiterate what my colleagues have said, but I wish to say that the case of the prosecution has had several gaps,” Aouini said. “The prosecution thus had to prove and demonstrate some kind of chronology. Gaps [needed] to be clarified, and this required us to go back to number of evidence.”

Source & Link : The Daily Star

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