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 29, 2016

The Daily Star- STL defense questions photo identification of suspects, November 29 , 2016

BEIRUT: The legitimacy of several “photo boards” used to identify suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was called into question Monday by defense counselors at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The boards were key in identifying Hussein Hasan Oneissi and Assad Hasan Sabra. According to the original indictment issued by the court, Sabra and Oneissi “had the task of preparing the false claim of responsibility, which served to identify the wrong people to investigate, in order to shield the conspirators from justice.”
The alleged false claim itself consisted of a video delivered to the Al-Jazeera news network immediately after the attack. In it, a man named Ahmad Abu Adass claimed responsibility for the assassination in the name of a group called Nusra and Jihad in Greater Syria. According to the prosecution, the video is false.
Defense counselor Natalie von Wistinghausen, second co-counsel for the team representing Oneissi, spent most of the session cross-examining Glenn Williams, a former investigator for the Office of the Prosecutor who was involved in the creation of the photo boards.
According to Williams, the goal was to “put before witnesses a field of photos that would allow [them] to realize whether they identify any of these people.”
The boards consisted of various images pulled from Lebanese passport applications with similar visual characteristics to Sabra and Oneissi. These were then presented together with photos of the two suspects.
However, the primary creator of the boards, Lorenzo Lanzi, had indicated in a statement given at the tribunal in 2015 that he had not been trained to create photo boards – casting doubt onto the legitimacy of the process itself. Von Wistinghausen dedicated much of Monday’s proceedings to “finding out what the methodology of constructing these photo boards was.”
This included questioning Williams on the qualitative requirements for this kind of evidence, including the composition of the photos on the boards themselves, and consensus on international best practices for the number of photos on a given board.
Von Wistinghausen also inquired about internal processes within the Office of the Prosecutor while creating the boards.
According to Williams, “There was no assumption that people necessarily understood how it should be done. There was a frank discussion between investigators and lawyers about it.”
However, Williams maintained that the creation of the identification boards was carefully conducted and well-thought-out. “There were a number of discussions to try to make sure that the process was fair,” he said.

Source & Link : The Daily Star

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