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

02 December 2020
  • Starts at: 16:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Online
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut and IHCL Platform

A recording of this lecture is available on YouTube. Please click here to watch. 

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 discussed the Ayyash judgment and its potential for achieving justice in more detail.


-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