Dr Guido Acquaviva worked as senior legal officer and Chef de Cabinet to the President at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Prior to joining the STL, he was for six years at the ICTY. Dr Acquaviva has lectured at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, at the LLM in International Crime and Justice (University of Turin – UNICRI), at the University of Milano – Bicocca, and has published extensively on public international law and international criminal law. He is the coauthor of International Criminal Law: Cases and Commentary (OUP, 2011).


On 16 January 2014, the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), based in Leidschendam (Netherlands) started hearing the case Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al., the first international proceedings for the crime of terrorism in time of peace. The case relates to the targeting of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on 14 February 2005, which resulted in the death of 22 people – including Mr Hariri himself – and the wounding of 226 others. The trial has catalyzed the interest of commentators, legal scholars and practitioners as an attempt at trying five individuals accused of terrorism under Lebanese law, in absentia, pursuant to international criminal procedures and on the basis of sophisticated analysis of call data records. This presentation will provide an introduction to the STL, its origins and major legal achievements, as well as examine whether and how this institution may serve as a blueprint for future similar attempts.