[SCL Lecture] The STL Judgement in the Ayyash et al. case: Justice for Lebanon?

Published 22 October 2020

Source: Special Tribunal for Lebanon 

On Wednesday December 2 2020 (16.00 hours CET) the Asser Institute will organise an online panel on the recent verdict by the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in the case of Ayyash et al. The panel, consisting of Olga Kavran (STL), Thijs Bouwknegt (NIOD) and Ilaria Zavoli (University of Leeds) will discuss the Ayyash judgment and its potential for achieving justice in more detail. Click here to join this meeting.


On 18 August 2020, the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued its long-awaited verdict in the case of Ayyash et al. The Trial Chamber found one defendant, Salim Jamil Ayyash, “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” for his role in perpetrating a 2005 explosion in Lebanon which killed 22 people, including former prime minister Rafic Hariri. The three other defendants were acquitted of all charges.

The judgment also concluded that “Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr Hariri, and some of his political allies”, but that “[t]here is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr Hariri’s murder and […] no direct evidence of Syrian involvement in it”.

On the one hand, the responses to the judgment have been critical, with commentators wondering whether the length and costs of the trial justified this outcome. On the other, the complexity of conducting these kinds of prosecutions was highlighted, as well as the fact that the judgment offers an independent and detailed account of what really happened some 15 years ago.

This panel will discuss the Ayyash judgment and its potential for achieving justice in more detail. You can register here or by clicking the red 'register' button on the event page.


-Ms. Olga Kavran, Head of Outreach and Legacy at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

-Dr. Thijs Bouwknegt, Researcher, NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

-Dr. Ilaria Zavoli, Lecturer in Law, University of Leeds

The panel will be moderated by Asser senior researcher Dr Christophe Paulussen.

About the SCL lecture series

The Supranational Criminal Law (SCL) Lectures Series is a lecture series on international criminal law and has been organised by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut since 2003, in cooperation with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University (Campus The Hague) and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

Learn more here.