The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), created in 2007 to prosecute those accused of carrying out the 2005 bomb-attack that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, recently pronounced its first judgment and handed down its first sentence. Earlier this year, the court was also at the brink of closure, having run out of funds to sustain its operations. While it has managed to secure funding now, the court has sparked much criticism in recent years. In this discussion, Lebanese lawyer Habib Nassar and former head of STL outreach Olga Kavran join us to reflect on these recent developments, the significance of the STL’s work, and the STL’s contribution to transitional justice in Lebanon.
Habib Nassar, a lawyer and activist with more than 15 years of experience working on human rights and transitional justice issues, is currently Director of Policy and Research at Impunity Watch. Before joining Impunity Watch, he worked at PILnet: The Global Network for Public Interest Law where he served as Acting Executive Director and Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to PILnet, he advised the UN OHCHR on transitional justice in North Africa and also worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). He has an LL.M. from New York University, a Master's in International Law from Université Paris II and a law degree from Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut.
Olga Kavran is a fellow and PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Founding Director of IUSTICOM. From 2010-2020, she was the Head of Outreach and Legacy at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. She also taught Public International Law at the American University of Beirut. From 1997-2010, she worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as a translator, Outreach Deputy Coordinator and Spokesperson for the Prosecutor. Before joining the ICTY, she worked for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. She holds an LL.M. in public international law from Leiden University and has published and taught on international courts and proceedings.