On Thursday, nearly nine years after a bomb killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 21 others, four men accused of taking part in the assassination will be tried in absentia by an international court created in 2009 for that very purpose. NOW offers a guide about what to expect from the opening of the first trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.


Opening statements


The trial against Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra will kick off with opening statements from the prosecution, legal representative of the victims, and defense lawyers for Badreddine and Oneissi. At a recent seminar for journalists covering the court in Lebanon, STL Chief of Outreach and Legacy, Olga Kavran, explained that the opening statements can best be described as “a summary of what they intend to prove in court.”


The prosecutor’s office has said it expects opening statements from the prosecution to last one day or possibly one day and a half. Proceedings are likely to begin around 9:30 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. starting from Thursday (the court will break for lunch and the judges may decide to add extra breaks or alter the schedule as they see fit).  [Link]