BEIRUT: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon confirmed Monday the delivery to Prime Minister Najib Mikati of the court’s fourth annual report on its activities.
“I can confirm delivery,” court spokesperson Marten Youssef told The Daily Star by phone Monday afternoon, adding that the report’s content would be made available to the public later in the week.
The prime minister’s office also released a statement Monday saying that it had received the report from an STL representative in Beirut. The annual report is scheduled to be published March 8, the statement added.
Youssef said that the Hague-based court would issue a statement on the report Friday, but that prior to that it must be delivered to the office of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in addition to the Lebanese prime minister’s office.
Past reports have looked at the activities of the court, as well as anticipated what the year ahead might bring.
But while the third annual report stated that “the tribunal may be expected to start trial proceedings against the four accused” before Feb. 28, 2013, the trial of the Hezbollah members indicted in the case has yet to begin.
In fact, the trial start date, originally set for March 25, was just last month postponed indefinitely by pretrial judge Daniel Fransen.
Fransen delayed the start date following a request for more time from defense attorneys, who claimed that the prosecution had failed to disclose all relevant documents. The defense also cited the volume and disorganization of the evidence received among its reasons for requesting a delay.
Fransen has given the prosecution, defense and victims’ representatives until Friday to submit details of their preparedness for trial, after which he will set a new start date.
The STL is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others. In June 2011, the U.N.-backed court indicted Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra in the case. However, to date none of the four has been apprehended, prompting the STL to proceed with in-absentia trial arrangements.