BEIRUT: U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon Friday expressed hope that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s proceedings would move “smoothly and expeditiously,” after his meeting with the head of the court’s defense office Francois Roux.
In a statement, Ban also highlighted the importance of the court’s work “in tackling impunity for the crimes within its jurisdiction.”
He also “noted the vital role of the Defense Office in ensuring that the proceedings before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon are fair and credible.”
Ban’s statement was released after his meeting with Roux at the U.N. headquarters in New York.
The STL is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri which plunged Lebanon into political turmoil. The U.N.-backed court has so far indicted five Hezbollah suspects in the killing.
Ban's statement came a day after a controversial contempt hearing for a Lebanese journalist accused by the court of undermining justice by publishing a list of alleged witnesses.
Ibrahim al-Amin, editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar newspaper, along with Karma Khayyat, editor of Al-Jadeed television, is charged with contempt for publishing the list.
Amin walked out of the hearing he attended via video-link after delivering a tirade accusing the court of “oppression” and denouncing the U.N. Security Council that brought it into existence.