BEIRUT: Special Tribunal for Lebanon Registrar Herman von Hebel will visit Beirut this week to meet Lebanese and foreign officials, the court said Monday.
During his stay, the registrar will meet with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and other Lebanese officials as well as “various representatives of the diplomatic community,” according to the tribunal.
He added that Hebel will also meet STL staff in Beirut.
The registrar is responsible for all aspects of the U.N.-backed court’s administration including the budget, fundraising, relations with states and court management.
His responsibilities also include oversight of the victim participation unit, witness protection and detention facilities.
Von Hebel’s visit comes after the STL said it could prosecute Al-Akhbar, a local newspaper, for publishing what it said where the names and photos of witnesses whose identity was concealed by the court.
The trial of the four Hezbollah men accused of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is set to start on March 25 of this year.
The defense team, however, has requested a delay to the scheduled date allowing them more time, given what the lawyers said was the prosecution’s failure to disclose all relevant documents.
The attorneys, who were appointed last February to represent Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra, cited in a statement Saturday the “continuing non-cooperation of the relevant Lebanese authorities ... and the absence of the accused.”
Hezbollah has repeatedly denied involvement in the case with the party’s secretary general Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah vowing never to hand over the suspects.
The proceeding will be held in absentia as the men remain at large.
The defense lawyers also said they could not set an alternative trial date until the prosecution hand over the remaining evidence.
Pretrial Judge Daniel Fransen will hold a public hearing Wednesday to assess the readiness of both sides.